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Improved software uploaded to Curiosity to extend wheel life

Engineers have designed and uploaded new software to Curiosity to better protect and use the rover’s wheels as it travels over rough terrain.

The software, referred to as traction control, adjusts the speed of Curiosity’s wheels depending on the rocks it’s climbing. After 18 months of testing at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the software was uploaded to the rover on Mars in March. Mars Science Laboratory’s mission management approved it for use on June 8, after extensive testing at JPL and multiple tests on Mars.

The timing is important, because Curiosity is about to move into terrain that looks far rougher than the ground it has so far traversed.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

One comment

  • Frank

    The notion of OTA (Over The Air) updates from 40 million miles still amazes me. In this day of hacking and ransomware, I wonder if some rogue programmers or states have pondered hacking an over the air rover code update. Just think of the mess that would bring. I hope NASA has seen fit to use appropriate encryption at all the appropriate places.

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