Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 12th Aug 2012 22:16 UTC
General Development "I cannot help but speculate on how the software on the Curiosity rover has been constructed. We know that most of the code is written in C and that it comprises 2.5 Megalines of code, roughly. One may wonder why it is possible to write such a complex system and have it work. This is the Erlang programmers view."
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This is a nice summary
by sukru on Mon 13th Aug 2012 00:33 UTC
sukru
Member since:
2006-11-19

Having strict quality guidelines, and isolating systems as much as possible is great.

However, my concern is the recent "brain transplant". Why are they doing a complete OTA software update right away? Isn't it too risky?

Reply Score: 2

RE: This is a nice summary
by zima on Mon 13th Aug 2012 00:59 in reply to "This is a nice summary"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

I see it as somewhat less risky - for the landing (and post-landing checkout) they used a more specialised, more basic software.

Now, the rover will start using the more complex main mission software - one that was uploaded to it fairly recently, when the probe was en route, so presumably also with more time for debugging (plus, I imagine that software update procedures are among the best tested; and that they're doing it one of two redundant computers at a time)

In another update: more & also colour pictures! http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Photos_by_the_Curiosity_... (and I guess this Commons page will have a decent selection, in the future - bookmarked)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: This is a nice summary
by kwan_e on Mon 13th Aug 2012 08:24 in reply to "This is a nice summary"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Why are they doing a complete OTA software update right away? Isn't it too risky?


That's what you get when you release beta version as the point zero release and the stable version as the point one release...

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: This is a nice summary
by krreagan on Mon 13th Aug 2012 20:36 in reply to "This is a nice summary"
krreagan Member since:
2008-04-08

Complete reloads of software on spacecraft have been done since the 70's. While it can be dangerous, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Most likely they have several images of the code in NV memory that can be activated by a restart. At least one of the versions will be a "safe" version that has minimal functionality beyond communicating with earth, diagnostics and loading additional images.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft was reprogrammed more then a decade after launch because the flight SW was not designed to operate in the Uranus/Neptune environments. The tape drives needed to be used to "spin" the spacecraft during close approach to U & N to pan the camera so the image would not be blurred due to the high relative motion and the long exposure times needed in the low light level environment.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: This is a nice summary
by Yoko_T on Tue 14th Aug 2012 11:58 in reply to "RE: This is a nice summary"
Yoko_T Member since:
2011-08-18

Complete reloads of software on spacecraft have been done since the 70's. While it can be dangerous, the benefits outweigh the risks.

Most likely they have several images of the code in NV memory that can be activated by a restart. At least one of the versions will be a "safe" version that has minimal functionality beyond communicating with earth, diagnostics and loading additional images.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft was reprogrammed more then a decade after launch because the flight SW was not designed to operate in the Uranus/Neptune environments. The tape drives needed to be used to "spin" the spacecraft during close approach to U & N to pan the camera so the image would not be blurred due to the high relative motion and the long exposure times needed in the low light level environment.


You're right. In fact it was considered such a big deal that it was covered by the evening newscasts at the time in the US.

Reply Parent Score: 1