Although the Curiosity rover has been well out of the reach of human hands since it touched down on Mars’ surface in 2012, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t getting constant upgrades. Via its communication link with Earth it receives regular firmware updates, with the most recent one being the largest one since 2016. In addition to code clean-up and small tweaks to message formats, this new change should make Curiosity both smarter and have its wheels last longer.
The former helps to avoid the long idle times between navigating, as unlike its younger sibling, Curiosity does not have the dedicated navigation computer for more autonomous driving. Although it won’t make the 11-year old rover as nimble as its sibling, it should shorten these pauses and allow for more navigating and science to be done. Finally, the change to reduce wear on the wheels is fairly simple, but should be rather effective: this affects the amount of steering that Curiosity needs to do while driving in an arc.
With these changes in place, Curiosity should be all ready to receive its newest sibling as it arrives in a few years along with even more Mars helicopters.
21 thoughts on “NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Gets A Major Software Upgrade”
I hope they will be able to back out of the update if necessary.
I wonder how much Spyware Google has put in this update?
Probably just a StreetView camera
That’s why AMSAT used the 1802 in I think Oscar 7. It could be loaded remotely, so if there was a problem, no problem.
iOS or Android?
My bet would be neither. It’s probably running compiled C. I know that a lot of users like to bash Windows. But even iOS or Android would be top heavy compared to C, or even VB compiled to a target CPU. It’s not like anyone on Mars needs a GUI interface!
For real, does anyone know the architecture of the CPU and what language is coded in?
It’s pretty much a 90s Powermac G3 on wheels :D
So it’s running OS 9?
Most likely running VxWorks RTOS by Wind River
Ok. And where is the hack?
OverTheSpace firmware upgrade for PowerPC-based robots.
Just type ‘sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade’ and enter ‘curiosity’ as the password.
For several years now the “-get” part is superfluous.
Actually, apt-get is much faster than apt becuase it can handle less commands (less bloatware).
It wasn’t in 2012. Maybe no one has updated since then.
not broken dont fix it
Yes. I’d be afraid of bricking it.
Yeah, you can’t send a technician there (yet) to reboot the damn thing if something goes wrong…
Ironic in way. Nasa sends stuff to other planets that seems to exceed their expected lifetime bu large marking and has no warranties after launch. On earth were lucky if device lasts warranty period of couple years.
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