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Mars Rover Controlled By Java

Java, the software developed by Sun Microsystems in the mid-1990s as a
universal operating system for Internet applications, gave NASA a low-cost
and easy-to-use option for running Spirit, the robotic rover that rolled
onto the planet's surface on Thursday in search of signs of water and life.

http://news.com.com/2100-1007_3-5142...l?tag=nefd_top

l8r, Mike N. Christoff

Jul 17 '05
198 18459
> NASA is renowned for its antenna failures - the Hubble space
telescope,
HST didn't and doesn't have antenna problems.
Ulysses at Jupiter
That one is going 'round the sun, and has had no problems of the sort.
and now their little radio-controlled go-cart on Mars.


....which isn't having an antenna problem, either.

As far as I can remember, the only probe to have an antenna failure was
Galileo. Feature creep caused by delays and other mods caused that one -
a bit of bad luck was also involved. OTOH, if the delays hadn't been,
another problem would likely have caused it to disintegrate during cruise,
if that hadn't been (painfully) found on another satellite and a work-around
identified.

As usual, you win some and you loose some.

Jan
Jul 17 '05 #151
"Jan C. Vorbrüggen" wrote:
NASA is renowned for its antenna failures - the Hubble space
telescope,


HST didn't and doesn't have antenna problems.


It sure as Hell did. When they got it up there NASA discovered that
the high gain antenna feed cable intersected space swept out by the
high gain antenna. The technical term for this is "pookie pookie."
Ulysses at Jupiter


That one is going 'round the sun, and has had no problems of the sort.


The Jupiter orbiter could never deploy its high gain antenna. While
NASA spurted all over the Media for years, data was being received at
a rate recalling Radio Shack computers and their modems. Only a very
small fraction of the collected data was ever relayed. What a
successful mission.
and now their little radio-controlled go-cart on Mars.


...which isn't having an antenna problem, either.


No. It turns out $240 million won't custom-build a NASA FlashRAM card
as good as one can purchase at Radio Shack. That's no surprise. $1
billion could not grind and polish a NASA version of a Keyhole spy
satellite main optic available off the shelf. In pure NASA Korporate
Kulture tradition, the old fart optician who screamed about the
Hubble's mirrror blank being rough ground to the wrong spec was fired
very early on. It cost another $billion to fix it in orbit.

FOR THE EMPIRICALPRICE OF FINALLY DOING HUBBLE CORRECTLY, NASA COULD
HAVE BUILT AND ORBITED NEARLY THREE OF THEM USING KEYHOLE SATELLITE
OFF THE SHELF PLANS AND PARTS.
[snip]

Taking a picture of Martian dirt is not a major triumph. We already
have surface meterological and chemical data. Unless a nice block of
limestone turns up, with included fossils, this has been a huge and
hugely expensive bullshit party. How many Enron ex-executives are
working at NASA?

--
Uncle Al
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" The Net!
Jul 17 '05 #152
"Jan C. Vorbrüggen" wrote:
NASA is renowned for its antenna failures - the Hubble space
telescope,


HST didn't and doesn't have antenna problems.


It sure as Hell did. When they got it up there NASA discovered that
the high gain antenna feed cable intersected space swept out by the
high gain antenna. The technical term for this is "pookie pookie."
Ulysses at Jupiter


That one is going 'round the sun, and has had no problems of the sort.


The Jupiter orbiter could never deploy its high gain antenna. While
NASA spurted all over the Media for years, data was being received at
a rate recalling Radio Shack computers and their modems. Only a very
small fraction of the collected data was ever relayed. What a
successful mission.
and now their little radio-controlled go-cart on Mars.


...which isn't having an antenna problem, either.


No. It turns out $240 million won't custom-build a NASA FlashRAM card
as good as one can purchase at Radio Shack. That's no surprise. $1
billion could not grind and polish a NASA version of a Keyhole spy
satellite main optic available off the shelf. In pure NASA Korporate
Kulture tradition, the old fart optician who screamed about the
Hubble's mirrror blank being rough ground to the wrong spec was fired
very early on. It cost another $billion to fix it in orbit.

FOR THE EMPIRICALPRICE OF FINALLY DOING HUBBLE CORRECTLY, NASA COULD
HAVE BUILT AND ORBITED NEARLY THREE OF THEM USING KEYHOLE SATELLITE
OFF THE SHELF PLANS AND PARTS.
[snip]

Taking a picture of Martian dirt is not a major triumph. We already
have surface meterological and chemical data. Unless a nice block of
limestone turns up, with included fossils, this has been a huge and
hugely expensive bullshit party. How many Enron ex-executives are
working at NASA?

--
Uncle Al
http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/
(Toxic URL! Unsafe for children and most mammals)
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" The Net!
Jul 17 '05 #153
In article <o0************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
un******@object mentor.com says...
NASA has had it's up's and downs. That's understandable. They are
doing things that nobody has ever done before.


A very good point, and I am a bit surprised it hasn't been said
previously in this thread. The public seems to have convinced
themselves that space travel is no more difficult than going down
to the corner store for a loaf of bread. It's not even remotely
true, with or without a passenger on board.

NASA shouldn't be getting a "black eye" for such failures, people
should be saying "good try, when are you going to make another
attempt at solving such a difficult problem". Stop and think
for a minute about how effective you would be at debugging your
project if the link between your development machine and the
system under test was on another planet and the delay between
inputs commensurately slow. Have fun. How would you debug
hardware problems remotely if you could not have any physical
contact with the machine? EVER AGAIN?

--
Randy Howard
2reply remove FOOBAR

Jul 17 '05 #154
In article <o0************ *************** *****@4ax.com>,
un******@object mentor.com says...
NASA has had it's up's and downs. That's understandable. They are
doing things that nobody has ever done before.


A very good point, and I am a bit surprised it hasn't been said
previously in this thread. The public seems to have convinced
themselves that space travel is no more difficult than going down
to the corner store for a loaf of bread. It's not even remotely
true, with or without a passenger on board.

NASA shouldn't be getting a "black eye" for such failures, people
should be saying "good try, when are you going to make another
attempt at solving such a difficult problem". Stop and think
for a minute about how effective you would be at debugging your
project if the link between your development machine and the
system under test was on another planet and the delay between
inputs commensurately slow. Have fun. How would you debug
hardware problems remotely if you could not have any physical
contact with the machine? EVER AGAIN?

--
Randy Howard
2reply remove FOOBAR

Jul 17 '05 #155
Robert C. Martin wrote:
NASA has had it's up's and downs.


Modulo the apostrophes, that's great tee-shirt material.

--
Richard Heathfield : bi****@eton.pow ernet.co.uk
"Usenet is a strange place." - Dennis M Ritchie, 29 July 1999.
C FAQ: http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html
K&R answers, C books, etc: http://users.powernet.co.uk/eton
Jul 17 '05 #156
Robert C. Martin wrote:
NASA has had it's up's and downs.


Modulo the apostrophes, that's great tee-shirt material.

--
Richard Heathfield : bi****@eton.pow ernet.co.uk
"Usenet is a strange place." - Dennis M Ritchie, 29 July 1999.
C FAQ: http://www.eskimo.com/~scs/C-faq/top.html
K&R answers, C books, etc: http://users.powernet.co.uk/eton
Jul 17 '05 #157
"Randy Howard"...,
| un******@object mentor.com says...
| > NASA has had it's up's and downs. That's understandable. They are
| > doing things that nobody has ever done before.
|
| .... The public seems to have convinced
| themselves that space travel is no more difficult than going down
| to the corner store for a loaf of bread. It's not even remotely
| true, with or without a passenger on board.

Don't be silly, have you ever tried
to purchase bread on Mars?

Even if you can find a baker, it's
stale by the time you're Earthside. [ ;-) ]

| ..How would you debug
| hardware problems remotely if you could not have any physical
| contact with the machine? EVER AGAIN?

Assuming you can get it to obey _any_
commands.

a) Orient front of rover toward big rock.
b) Drive to 3 metres distant from rock, stop.
c) Drive forward 4 metres.
d) Back up 3 metres.
e) Repeat c), d) until problem fixed or rover destroyed.

Easy peasy.
You folks just do not think laterally. ;-)

--
Andrew Thompson
* http://www.PhySci.org/ PhySci software suite
* http://www.1point1C.org/ 1.1C - Superluminal!
* http://www.AThompson.info/andrew/ personal site
Jul 17 '05 #158
"Randy Howard"...,
| un******@object mentor.com says...
| > NASA has had it's up's and downs. That's understandable. They are
| > doing things that nobody has ever done before.
|
| .... The public seems to have convinced
| themselves that space travel is no more difficult than going down
| to the corner store for a loaf of bread. It's not even remotely
| true, with or without a passenger on board.

Don't be silly, have you ever tried
to purchase bread on Mars?

Even if you can find a baker, it's
stale by the time you're Earthside. [ ;-) ]

| ..How would you debug
| hardware problems remotely if you could not have any physical
| contact with the machine? EVER AGAIN?

Assuming you can get it to obey _any_
commands.

a) Orient front of rover toward big rock.
b) Drive to 3 metres distant from rock, stop.
c) Drive forward 4 metres.
d) Back up 3 metres.
e) Repeat c), d) until problem fixed or rover destroyed.

Easy peasy.
You folks just do not think laterally. ;-)

--
Andrew Thompson
* http://www.PhySci.org/ PhySci software suite
* http://www.1point1C.org/ 1.1C - Superluminal!
* http://www.AThompson.info/andrew/ personal site
Jul 17 '05 #159
Randy Howard wrote:
NASA shouldn't be getting a "black eye" for such failures, people
should be saying "good try, when are you going to make another
attempt at solving such a difficult problem". Stop and think
for a minute about how effective you would be at debugging your
project if the link between your development machine and the
system under test was on another planet and the delay between
inputs commensurately slow. Have fun. How would you debug
hardware problems remotely if you could not have any physical
contact with the machine? EVER AGAIN?


While I hesitate to bash NASA (I do think they're doing very important
work, and I worked there myself for seven years), I regrettably prolong
a thread which has been OT from its inception with this excerpt from a
recent news article:

"[Mission manager Jennifer] Trosper said the problem appeared to be that
the rover's flash memory couldn't handle the number of files it was
storing. ... She pointed out that the scientists had thoroughly tested
the rover's systems on Earth, but that the longest trial for the file
system was nine days, half of the 18 days Spirit operated before running
into the problem."

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/01/26/mars.rovers/

"Thoroughly tested"? If you're going to send any object, and especially
an object with a computer and software, to a distant planet where it is
supposed to survive for about 90 days, wouldn't it seem prudent to run
at least a 90 day test of the object on earth before liftoff?

-- Dave
Jul 17 '05 #160

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