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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RE[2]: This is a nice summary
by Yoko_T on Tue 14th Aug 2012 11:58 UTC in reply to "RE: This is a nice summary"
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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.

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