The real work for Mars rover, Curiosity is cut out. After flying more than 350 million miles from Earth it is about to get it’s driver’s license. In the next four days, mission control engineers in California will work on remotely installing new computer software in the rover Curiosity that would re-orient the brains of the vehicle for maneuvering around the surface of the Red Planet. The six wheeled, nuclear powered rover which is about the size of a small sports car would be going through a series of ‘brain transplant’ starting from 10th August till 13 August and new versions of software will be installed in the rover’s main computers. A key capability in the new version is image processing to check for obstacles. This allows for longer drives by giving the rover more autonomy to identify and avoid potential hazards and drive along a safe path the rover identifies for itself. Other new capabilities facilitate use of the tools at the end of the rover's robotic arm.
Talking about the software transmission, NASA’s chief software engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, Ben Cichy from NASA’s Jey Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California said, "We designed the mission from the start to be able to upgrade the software as needed for different phases of the mission. The flight software version Curiosity currently is using was really focused on landing the vehicle. It includes many capabilities we just don't need any more. It gives us basic capabilities for operating the rover on the surface, but we have planned all along to switch over after landing to a version of flight software that is really optimized for surface operations."
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