On the eve of a new unit Curiosity Mars began to transmit to Earth the first data, including the panoramic pictures of the Martian surface surrounding the device. At the same time, NASA engineers were loaded into the main computer Curiosity new version of the software. Until now, there stood a software that allows the machine to fly to Mars, but now it is replaced by software that will allow him to conduct scientific work directly on the surface of the Red Planet. “We will hold a series of operations to activate the new software. Price bugs here very high. If something goes wrong, we just lose the device on Mars and everything, so these operations are obliged to be successful. I would not like to be the guy who caused the loss of the device, the cost of 2.5 billion dollars, “- said Steve Skandor, senior manager of software in the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Michael Watkins, project manager Curiosity’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said at a Friday press conference that now NASA is already working version of the software for download on Curiosity, and this software was not ready at the time of the launch vehicle and its finishing, when the rover was flying to the planet.Watkins says that now NASA engineers test the two-board computer Curiosity’s willingness to upgrade. After beginning the upgrade process until its completion will take place in about two days, two days will be spent to upgrade the primary and backup computers.
“After downloading, we give the command to start the big action sequences, and the update process will be a stage where for about eight hours, we generally will not be able to contact the device,” – said Skandor. He said that on Earth the upgrade process has been tested many times, but when begin the actual upgrade, there is always a natural emotion. “It’s not just update the software on a remote computer. We on the other end there is a service administrator, who if anything can help. We have only one attempt. We pass code and just waiting for an answer,” – he said. Results in writing programs for Curiosity and testing them is attended by over 100 programmers. Created software for Curiosity is the most complex of all the previously created programs for the Mars rovers. System program interpreter understands more than 1,000 commands.