NASA‘s Mars corsair Curiosity will start a “brain transplant” tomorrow (Aug. 11), a four-day operation that will move a proxy hindrance to a robot’s science activities.
Curiosity is removing a vital update, switching over from program optimized for entry, skirmish and landing to programs designed to assistance a drudge ramble and investigate Red Planet rocks and soil, goal group members said.
The transition will engage both Curiosity’s categorical and backup computers, and it should take 4 Martian days — or Sols, in goal terminology — to complete.
“This is essentially an engineering activity,” Curiosity lead moody program operative Ben Cichy, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told reporters currently (Aug. 10). “So we are mostly focusing on only removing finished with a engineering and doing a installation, and station down on scholarship for a subsequent 4 Sols.” [Mars Rover Curiosity: 11 Amazing Facts]
A large switch
Curiosity, a centerpiece of NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory goal (MSL), overwhelmed down inside a Red Planet’s outrageous Gale Crater late Sunday night (Aug. 5). It pulled off an unprecedented landing, during that a rocket-powered sky derrick lowered a 1-ton corsair to a aspect on cables.
The MSL group calls a moody program that guided this adventurous touchdown R9. With Curiosity now safely on a surface, it’s time to switch over to R10, that was uploaded during a rover’s eight-month interplanetary cruise.
R10 will concede Curiosity to get a full use out of a 10 scholarship instruments and a 7-foot-long (2.1 meters), drill-equipped robotic arm, Cichy said. And a program ascent will let a six-wheeled drudge ramble — some-more or reduction autonomously, if a handlers wish — around a Gale Crater area.
“Curiosity was innate to drive,” Cichy said. “The R10 program includes a capability for Curiosity to unequivocally get out and widen her wheels on a aspect of Mars.”
Software upgrades like this one are compulsory in partial since Curiosity’s computing energy is comparatively low compared with what we’re used to on Earth, a effect of a tradeoffs compulsory to harden a corsair adult for a rigors of launch, flight, alighting and Mars aspect operations.
For example, Curiosity’s dual processors — one any in a categorical and backup computers — run during 133 megahertz, Cichy said. That’s about 10 times slower than a processors found in standard smartphones. And a corsair has about 4 gigabytes of storage capacity, compared with 64 gigs or so for a smartphone.
Transitioning to R10 frees adult this singular computing energy by holding a alighting package out of a mix.
“It’s like shutting a few applications on your computer, and ‘Wow, a whole thing runs faster, and now we can drive,’” Cichy said.
A four-day operation
The switch to R10 will take a while. It starts with a “toe dip” on Curiosity’s categorical mechanism on Sol 5 (which itself starts around 7:30 p.m. PDT currently [10:30 p.m. EDT; 0230 GMT Saturday]).
If all looks good, a MSL group will dedicate to a full designation on Sol 6, Cichy said. The routine will repeat on Sols 7 and 8 on Curiosity’s backup computer.
Curiosity is slated to ramble around a Gale Crater area for a subsequent dual years or more, attempting to establish if Mars can, or ever could, support microbial life. So a four-day hindrance on scholarship activities doesn’t volume to most in a grand intrigue of a mission.
And R10 is value a wait, Cichy said.
“It has a lot of good things that a scholarship group wants, that a aspect group wants, in sequence to capacitate this illusory mission,” he said. “And so that’s because we’re peaceful to spend some time here doing a install.”
- Mars Rover Curiosity: Mars Science Lab Coverage
- Curiosity Rover’s Descent Images Reach Earth | Video
- 1st Photos of Mars by Curiosity Rover (Gallery)
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