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back to article Curiosity's new OS upgrade ready to go live

Martian robot tourist Curiosity's new operating system will go into production on 13 August after it was successfully uploaded and installed by mission scientists. The boffins had said the remote upgrade represented a major milestone for the craft. NASA tested the upgrade on August 11th in an exercise during which it “executed …

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Paris Hilton

I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

... look almost exactly like sand dunes to me. All you need for those is fine particulate matter and a stiff breeze.

I think the Expectation Meter needs to be dialled down from "Wishful Thinking/MIssion Justified" unless/until more concrete evidence is found.

Paris, just because "fluvial" sounds just a teensy bit rude.

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Holmes

Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

I take it you based your assessment of those valleys on a rigorous examination of the full-resolution pictures based firmly in your extensive experience in identifying geological features via two-dimensional analysis?

Or should we dial our Commentard Expectation Meter down from "Witty Expert" to "Bitter Wannabe"?

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Anonymous Coward

New software already?

If it had been Android software the chances are there would have been a 12 month delay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

"until more concrete evidence is found"

Blimey, that's wishful thinking... NASA are hoping to find evidence of water, and you're expecting to find water, cement and ballast all mixed together... That would be a revelation! Absolute proof of intelligent life on Mars!

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Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

Jeeze, lighten up Herbert. You are STIFF!

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: New software already?

True if it was the OS, but if it was an app, there'd be near daily updates, occasionally more...

The number of app updates that seem to arrive on my Android devices is incredible - and annoying (to the point where the only time recently I bothered was when Moto finally released the ICS update for the Xoom 3G here, so after that I let it rinse through the 83 app updates that were waiting...

If curiosity had an app store and a load of apps, it'd never get any research done...

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Trollface

Re: New software already?

How much fragmentation can a fanboi spot if there's one (1) item of hardware in the wild?

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Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

Actually it does look like a fluvial system and that can and does include sand dunes to a leyperson.

It doesn't prove water per se, but does prove air currents. However the 'clast' and visual aspects of the photos are very similar to evidence found on Earth so an assumption they were formed the same way is a fair estimate based on a 2d image. It could be water, but could also be just air formed.

The clast composition and formation however could well prove water as that is how they can be formed. Given the 'blast' effect ony cleared a small area and there isn't much top surface would suggest there is either really strong winds (not much depostion of sediment) or not much dust around to settle (what is deposited is a thing layer), or just not much movement by wind which might suggest more water formation than wind.

Just a few images and you can use existing knowledge to determine tons of stuff, I bet geologosts and geographers will be wetting themselves over the next few months, very exciting stuff.

I base my assessment on a Dual honours degree in Geography and Geology, including a semester on Martian topography and geophysics.

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Stop

Re: New software already?

Can we have one thread on the register that is not prattling on about iPhone and Android, please? There is some real science going on here. Our robot invasion of Mars is proceeding on schedule.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

A leyperson? Have they included a ley lines detector? ;-)

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Anonymous Coward

@ Jolyon

A word of advice, friend - whenever you think you need an apostrophe, you're probably wrong, so just forget that key exists on your keyboard and everybody will be much happier.

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Happy

Re: New software already? @ AC06:30 GMT

you said "If it had been Android software the chances are there would have been a 12 month delay.".

Not quite true, if it'd been on Android but on a contract via <insert mobile network provider of choice here> then it would have been a 12 month delay

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RE:Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

I must say you should get out more. Play with some sand and see what it does. You don't need water to create this sort of feature.

Its not long ago(<30yr?) that geologists 'discovered' that rocks could behave like a liquid when flowing down a ditch they'd dug. But they still seem to refuse to admit it. You can have a dry lahar where the flow is 'lubricated' by air but you can also have a flow where the solid particles bounce about just like a fluid but with an erosional power an order or two of magnitude higher. And visually the features they would create would be identical from a 2 or 3d view at the resolutions we have available.

I'd send a probe to check out the debris more closely before turning on the inverted comma crow machine.

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Re: I have to say that the "valley's" entering the crater ...

They are not looking for water, they are trying to determin in the location was suitable for life, either now or in the past. That involves, water, an energy source and organic carbon.

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Anonymous Coward

Roads!

There's a winding road in the middle of the panorama picture! :P

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Re: Roads!

And a CANAL!!!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Roads!

"There's a winding road in the middle of the panorama picture"

Sounds like a western song to me, all it needs now is Curiousity to go on about how it misses the cat and how it "Gits kinda lonely out here in spaace"

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xyz

Re: Roads!

...and that sky just gets bluer and bluer with every camera shot. Are we sure they are on the right planet?

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Re: Roads!

I thoat I saw some sort of animal there...

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Re: Roads! @xyz

Martian sunsets are, in fact, blue: http://io9.com/5906367/why-are-martian-sunsets-blue

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Roads!

I see Jawas.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Roads!

That's not a road, it's a ski trail!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "I thoat I saw some sort of animal "

Yes, it was a stought. (Small aresmustelinoid, distant relative of the stobor.)

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to me the major gob smack about these pictures from mars is not so much where they are from (which is pretty gob smacking) but that I can view them on a mobile phone or tablet pretty much anywhere in the country.

When you add in how the rover was landed the whole thing is science fiction come to life.

Which is nice.

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Anonymous Coward

@science fiction come to life

that's when a picture comes back with the martians waving at us

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Amarzing!

Top marks to the boffins, whatever their hair-style.

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Be a complete bummer if this update...

...breaks wireless.

Seriously though - @ Martin47 you have it spot on. I watched the landing from bed, on my mobile, which was streamed 'Live'. Amazing is just not enough of a description.

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Transmission data rate

Does anyone know what the average data rate is for the transmissions from Curiosity?

Just curiosity, you see...

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Re: Transmission data rate

Somewhere between slow and not very fast

http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/mission/communicationwithearth/data/

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Coat

Re: Transmission data rate

Less than 1Mb/s I believe, or "up to 24Mb" in BT parlance

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Transmission data rate

"up to 24Mb" in BT parlance

Cruel, but fair ...

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Pint

Re: Transmission data rate

You, Sir deserve a pint of our best!!!

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Franko

Why do they need to reload a new OS from that far away? Storage space is pretty plentiful nowadays....and small. Does not compute.

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Re: Franko

Because it is a NEW OS? they didn't have it before...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Franko

Yup, they've got a clone of the rover here so have spent the time the real one has been travelling improving the code based on further testing.

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Holmes

Re: Franko

Because in the silly number of days it has taken since it was dispatched until it arrived (which is only marginally longer than "Home Delivery Network" and "DHL" take for an express service), NASAs lot have written a whole load of stuff that wasn't ready/finished/thought of when it left...

...so I guess they figured it would be useful to give it the extra year or two of capability and tech they'd written?

Or that's what I figured from what I saw elsewhere...

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Happy

Re: Franko

@Vince - fairly sure it only took 8 or 9 months to get there, but the point is still valid

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Re: Franko

Curiosity doesn't have much by today's standards.It was designed years ago.

256MB of RAM

250KB of ROM

2GB of flash storage

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Re: Franko

Not only designed years ago, but also using specially-hardened cosmic-ray-resistant skycrane-landing-capable hardware. Space is a nasty place - fewer dust bunnies, though.

Here's the software guy's explanation of it all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BArApRIjdTI&feature=player_detailpage#t=1987s

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Re: Franko

That's a huge amount for an embedded system which is it. It is not a desktop computer running Windows.

Look at the specs of Arduino and you'll soon see that those specs are quite high.

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Re: Franko

1. Consumer stuff is cheap and small. Space rated, radiation hardened hardware designed 13 years ago isn't.

2. They are not replacing the OS, some of the software in the system was for the landing and skycrane, as it has landed, this is no longer needed, therefore they are reusing the space for other software to help with the scientific mission.

2GB is actually a lot in embedded terms, 2GB 13 years ago would have been quite a lot of space.

Just because you can walk into your local supermarket today and buy a 4GB card for next to nothing:

1. Doesn't mean it will survive in space.

2. Just because you can change it when it breaks, there's (supposedly) no one on Mars to come and replace it

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But can it play . . .

"Curiosity doesn't have much by today's standards.It was designed years ago.

256MB of RAM

250KB of ROM

2GB of flash storage"

Hmm, guess not.

Enough for Space Invaders and Asteroids

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Earth Is The True Planet Of War, Not Mars (Curiosity Rover)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sj5ju9ag2ZI

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JDX
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Clearly Fake

I mean it just looks like photos from Earth ;)

They didn't even try and make it look alien by tinting it nice and red!

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Re: Clearly Fake

I know!

If it was really a photo from Mars, wouldn't it have Martians in it?

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Big Brother

Re: Clearly Fake

That's what I thought.... It looks like the area south of Johannesburg on a spring day. Why travel 600 bazillion miles AND have to re-install your OS just to go and view some rocks?

(Actually.... I'm not one of the Nay-Sayers. Pretty amazing stuff, this!!)

<<< Watching this mission with great interest.

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JDX
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Re: Clearly Fake

Seriously though in a way it's kind of weird just how non-alien it does look. You feel like you could step out and walk around.

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Re: Clearly Fake

@JDX - indeed, our planet feels less and less special with every scientific discovery.

Where's your messiah now, Flanders?

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JDX
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Re: Clearly Fake

What's that got to do with religion? Seems to me you're just looking for excuses to start a secular rant against an argument nobody has made ;)

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Re: Clearly Fake

According to the BBC's report you're not alone: "Scientists have remarked that the rover's surroundings resembled parts of the southwestern US."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19244888

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