The ultimate software upgrade: Earth to Mars

The IT manager has told you to update the software in your branch servers on the other side of the country. Tough job, right? It might take a couple of hours. Well, think of the engineers at NASA who have to upgrade the software in the Curiosity rover on Mars.
Pressure? As one engineer told PCWorld, “It has to work. You don’t want to be known as the guy doing the last activity on the rover before you lose contact.” This is a fascinating behind the scenes look at long-distance programming.
As for what’s doing on the red planet, check out these astonishing high-res images from CNET. By the way, they were taken with Curiosity’s 2 megapixel camera. How much? Well, aside from the fact that the specs for the camera had to be set in 2004, the fact is NASA didn’t want a bigger sensor. In this interview for Digital Phototography Review NASA’s Mike Ravine explains the ability of the camera to shoot multi-shot images makes up for the low resolution. And the system just doesn’t have the bandwidth. Just like here on Earth.


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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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