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Spirit Sends First Photo Since Troubles Began
Yahoo ^ | Jan 29 2004 | By Robert Roy Britt

Posted on 01/29/2004 9:04:51 AM PST by Dog

Spirit Sends First Photo Since Troubles Began

By Robert Roy Britt Senior Science Writer, SPACE.com

Missed Tech Tuesday? Technology is changing sports-- for better or worse. Plus, tech tools for athletes and sports fans alike.

NASA (news - web sites)'s troubled rover Spirit has sent a new photograph back from Mars. It is the robot's first significant data transmission since its computer went haywire last week.

The image was taken and sent back Wednesday. It was captured by the rover's front hazard avoidance camera and shows the robotic arm extended to a rock previously named Adirondack. Mission managers did not say whether it was an indicator of Spirit's health.

Spirit's science operations halted just as it crawled to the pointy rock and was about to begin drilling into it. The rover's computer rebooted itself more than 100 times over a two-day period and, at first, sent back beeps but no data. Engineers have since determined that the problem appears to involve too many files overloading the onboard computer memory.

A spectrometer, which would identify minerals in the rock, is still placed on Adirondack, as it had been instructed prior to the computer glitch.

"Engineers are working to restore Spirit to working order so that the rover can resume the scientific exploration of its landing area," a NASA statement accompanying the picture said. No other details have been provided about the rover's condition since a Wednesday morning press briefing.

"Right now we're working to get complete control of the vehicle, and we're still not quite there," Jennifer Trosper, Mission Manager for the Mars Exploration Rover program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said earlier Wednesday. "If we're on the right track, we hope to be back doing some science by early next week. If we're not on the right track, it could take longer than that."

Spirit is in the Gusev Crater on Mars. Its twin, Opportunity, is on the other side of the planet and preparing to roll off its landing pad, possibly as early as Sunday.

The combined mission cost is $820 million and is designed to determine whether Mars was once wetter, possibly with the conditions necessary for life.


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mars; pictures; spirit
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Spirit is back..
1 posted on 01/29/2004 9:04:52 AM PST by Dog
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To: ambrose; Phil V.; leadpenny
fyi..
2 posted on 01/29/2004 9:05:41 AM PST by Dog
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To: Dog
Spirit Sends First Photo Since Troubles Began

...and it is quite ominous...


3 posted on 01/29/2004 9:08:29 AM PST by StriperSniper (Mine the borders)
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To: Dog
Well, sort of.
4 posted on 01/29/2004 9:08:43 AM PST by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn’t be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: Dog
Spirit must have taken the WayBack machine ;)



http://www.spaceflightnow.com/mars/mera/040126spirit.html

"Then, as we were getting ready to send the next beep command, the vehicle decided to communicate with us in one of its nominal communications windows at which point we got a little bit of data that had very little information in it. In fact, originally we started to decode it and it was from the year 2053 and we thought 'this is not good!' Eventually we found out the data was corrupted, and we were all cheering at that point because there weren't a lot of scenarios that would put us in 2053 on Mars."

5 posted on 01/29/2004 9:09:22 AM PST by LRS
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To: Dog
Already posted here.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1067557/posts
6 posted on 01/29/2004 9:11:25 AM PST by Slicksadick (Miserable failure = http://www.michaelmoore.com/ put it in your tagline too)
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To: Phil V.
Spirit regains it's senses, sends back image.
Seems to be sitting right where it was last before it barfed it's brains out.
7 posted on 01/29/2004 9:11:59 AM PST by Darksheare (Responsible for killing more threads than anyone else. Considered armed & weird. Use caution.)
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To: Dog
"Engineers have since determined that the problem appears to involve too many files overloading the onboard computer memory."

From what I have read on the NASA website, Spirit has 128 MB of RAM. You think they would have put more on it with RAM being so cheap these days.
8 posted on 01/29/2004 9:33:07 AM PST by ryanjb2
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To: ryanjb2
The RAM is radiation hardened, so is a little more expensive than your average RAM.
9 posted on 01/29/2004 9:36:09 AM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: LRS
...there weren't a lot of scenarios that would put us in 2053 on Mars.

:^) He needs to read more science fiction.

10 posted on 01/29/2004 9:38:12 AM PST by Samwise (There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil.)
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To: StriperSniper

you have made me very angry!

11 posted on 01/29/2004 9:38:15 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Dog
Engineers have since determined that the problem appears to involve too many files overloading the onboard computer memory.

I just knew it. Spirit's running under Windows.

.
12 posted on 01/29/2004 9:51:47 AM PST by Coyote (the opposite of RIGHT is NOT left....it's WRONG!)
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To: Coyote
More likely Slowlaris since it's using Java, even though Java runs better under windows.
13 posted on 01/29/2004 9:58:17 AM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: Dog
Engineers have since determined that the problem appears to involve too many files overloading the onboard computer memory.

Ruh Roh! Somebody downloaded some porn and didn't cleanup after themself.

14 posted on 01/29/2004 10:15:57 AM PST by Professional Engineer (NASA bumper sticker: My other Rover is a FORD too.)
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To: Dog

15 posted on 01/29/2004 10:30:02 AM PST by frithguild ("W" is the Black Ice President - underestimated until the left completely loses traction.)
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To: Dog
Just wait! The memory will fill up again with Penis & Breast Enhancement Ads along with Advanced Degrees for $49.95.
16 posted on 01/29/2004 10:33:12 AM PST by DoctorMichael (Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
Are they really running Java on an embedded system?
17 posted on 01/29/2004 10:54:44 AM PST by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: randog
Not sure if the rover itself has a VM but the ground control software is:

http://news.com.com/2100-1007_3-5142220.html?tag=nefd_top

My lego mindstorm (32k) can be flashed to use a Java VM and the JavaCard technology is ultra low footprint as well. There are a few cell phones that run a VM and I can think of a few other devices that use Java as well.
18 posted on 01/29/2004 11:00:21 AM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: Dog
Abort, Retry, Fail?
19 posted on 01/29/2004 4:10:48 PM PST by Imal (Heed the need to read my screed. imal.blogspot.com)
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To: Dog
the problem appears to involve too many files overloading the onboard computer memory.

Martian kid having a little "fun" with us Earthlings no doubt.

20 posted on 01/29/2004 5:41:16 PM PST by Indie
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To: RockyMtnMan; randog
The rovers run Wind Rivers VxWorks embedded OS.

An article detailing it is here.

21 posted on 01/29/2004 6:00:09 PM PST by Knitebane
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To: RockyMtnMan
The RAM is radiation hardened, so is a little more expensive than your average RAM.

No matter how much they charge for Mars-ready RAM, I’m sure the price is a very small fraction of the shipping and handling charges.

22 posted on 01/29/2004 7:50:08 PM PST by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: Knitebane
Yeah, I got that from RockyMtnMan's link. I've got a little more faith in the Rover now that I know that it isn't using Java.
23 posted on 01/29/2004 7:56:59 PM PST by randog (Everything works great 'til the current flows.)
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To: Dog

24 posted on 01/29/2004 8:02:00 PM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: randog
The hardware on Mars isn't using Java but all the intelligence on the ground is using Java ;-).

I didn't see any mention of what software was actually running on the rover, just the hardware, so it still could have a VM on the rover. Java runs on all platforms unlike Windows.
25 posted on 01/29/2004 8:26:36 PM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: Dog
There's that $820 million figure again. Why do they keep publishing the price tag in every news story? The press hasn't needed to do this before. What are they trying to do soften us up before they lay the price tag for the Cassini mission on us?
26 posted on 01/29/2004 11:21:32 PM PST by InABunkerUnderSF (Californians: Please visit www.save187.com)
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To: RockyMtnMan
The Java joke is that it is supposed to be "write once, run anywhere"- in real life it is "Write once, DEBUG everywhere"

.NET will replace Java in 2 years
27 posted on 01/30/2004 8:17:45 AM PST by Mr. K
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To: Mr. K
Highly unlikely, too many enterprise apps are using Java now. IBM rules the roost in most large enterprises and I don't see them switching to .NET anytime soon.

The app my company develops runs on many platforms using the same codebase. We did have to do some debugging but compared to a C++ environment it was a piece of cake.
28 posted on 01/30/2004 9:45:43 AM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: Coyote
I just knew it. Spirit's running under Windows.

That's EXACTLY what my 12 year old said when he heard it was a memory problem!!!

29 posted on 01/30/2004 9:49:49 AM PST by WIladyconservative (Proud monthly donor)
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To: Knitebane
You mean VxDoesn'tWorks. :)

It's my understanding the problem has to do with the file / memory management code within VxWorks.

Here's another article on the subject: Thinking on Mars: The Brains of NASA's Red Planet Rovers

30 posted on 01/30/2004 10:02:11 AM PST by MrConfettiMan
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To: Revolting cat!
One of these days, Alice, one of these days....

POW!!!! UP TO MARS!

31 posted on 01/30/2004 10:39:12 AM PST by Erasmus (The best laid men gang oft a-gley. -- Robt. Burns)
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To: Erasmus
You forgot: "BANG! ZOOM!"
32 posted on 01/30/2004 10:40:25 AM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: Revolting cat!
I was going to adorn the thread with a picture of a car on blocks, and even did the Google Image Search

I'm stunned.

33 posted on 01/30/2004 10:43:20 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb
I like when you can use the Pete Townshend excuse: "I was only doing research, Your Honor!"
34 posted on 01/30/2004 11:03:37 AM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: Revolting cat!
"I was only doing research, Your Honor!"

C'mon -- would you really have expected that when you searched for "cars on blocks?" Sometimes ya just have to wonder....

35 posted on 01/30/2004 11:18:32 AM PST by r9etb
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To: r9etb
The *****graphers do all kinds of tricks to try to outsmart the Web indexing software, which attempts to to screen them out, and in this case they succeeded. AltaVista and AlltheWeb don't show that one.
36 posted on 01/30/2004 11:24:03 AM PST by Revolting cat! ("In the end, nothing explains anything!")
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To: frithguild

"ACK! ACK!...ACK! ACK! ACK!....DEAN?...EEEEEEAAAAAAAHHHHH. QUICK, DESTROY THIS THING!"

37 posted on 01/30/2004 12:35:49 PM PST by Mad_Tom_Rackham (Any day you wake up is a good day.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
I can appreciate your point of view, but IBM tried to stick with OS/2 for how long? before it was officially dead
38 posted on 01/30/2004 1:06:09 PM PST by Mr. K
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To: Mr. K
Not the same thing. We are talking about enterprise apps not desktop OS's. Microsoft has never owned the high-end enterprise apps that has always been the territory of IBM.

Microsoft was/is so shaken up by Java they first tried to destroy it then they copied it (C#). Java will be around for a long time to come much to Microsoft's dismay.
39 posted on 01/30/2004 2:44:15 PM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: StriperSniper
The problem, of course, had to do with the last image it sent back...


40 posted on 01/30/2004 2:48:53 PM PST by Redcloak (Cat: The other white meat.)
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To: RockyMtnMan
I resp[ectfully disagree. C# is what Java Should have been, but isn't.

Plus Microsoft is the Borg- resistance is futile. As a lifelong contractor I have a good eye on market demand- I am getting 50% calls for .NET and maybe 10% for Java
41 posted on 01/30/2004 2:54:34 PM PST by Mr. K
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To: MrConfettiMan
It's my understanding the problem has to do with the file / memory management code within VxWorks.

From what I'm hearing, the problem is not the OS, which is doing exactly what it's supposed to do.

The problem is the engineers that set it up. Apparently when the flash device was formated, it was formated with the expectation of only holding a certain number of files. When they exceeded that number, the file handler in the OS refused to access any more files. IOW, it operated as designed.

The fix that they are setting up for this weekend is basically a format and reinstall. Once the filesystem is set up properly, the rover shouldn't have this kind of problem again.

A lot of Unix engineers are familiar with this kind of problem. Anyone who has set up a system that grew much faster than expected has probably run into the same issue.

42 posted on 01/30/2004 4:11:31 PM PST by Knitebane
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To: Mr. K
Having worked a several large enterprises and seeing how the entire financial services sector is firmly in IBM's camp you might reconsider your position. JPMorgan paid IBM 5 billion dollars to manage their infrastructure for the next 5 years (and they've made 3 similair deals across the indutry).
43 posted on 01/30/2004 4:12:15 PM PST by RockyMtnMan
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To: Mr. K
I resp[ectfully disagree. C# is what Java Should have been, but isn't.

Well, that depends. If you are looking at if from Microsoft's point of view:

A. Java runs on platforms other than Windows.

B. Java isn't owned and controlled by Microsoft.

C. Java doesn't let Microsoft force upgrades.

D. Java doesn't let Microsoft charge license fees.

E. Java can't be dropped at Microsoft's whim.

Looking at it from that perspective, then yes, C# fixes all of those problems.

44 posted on 01/30/2004 4:31:58 PM PST by Knitebane
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To: Redcloak
I'm worried more about the next one....


45 posted on 01/30/2004 4:40:54 PM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: Darksheare
Seems to be sitting right where it was last before it barfed it's brains out.

You have a way with words...

46 posted on 01/31/2004 4:46:42 AM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: American in Israel
No I don't.
*chuckle*
But, that's basically what Spirit did.
Unless it's more comparable to disassociative schizophrenia.
47 posted on 01/31/2004 9:10:22 AM PST by Darksheare (Responsible for killing more threads than anyone else. Considered armed & weird. Use caution.)
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To: Darksheare
Spirit regains it's senses, sends back image. Seems to be sitting right where it was last before it barfed it's brains out.

With a little effort, you could get a pretty fair Haiku out of that:

Spirit finds its sense,

Sends a picture home

From the place it lost its mind.

48 posted on 01/31/2004 1:27:17 PM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: JustAmy
See #48 above. I suspect some of your poetry page regulars could do considerably better, suggesting a possible topic for your page: Mars rover/exploration tributes and poetic commentary

If you go with it and get any takers, kindly provide a link here as well, Earthling.

-archy-/-

49 posted on 01/31/2004 3:41:10 PM PST by archy (Angiloj! Mia kusenveturilo estas plena da angiloj!)
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To: archy
LOL

That is great. I may just put something on tomorrow's thread for a "let's see where we can go with this".

Thank you, that is a wonderful idea.
50 posted on 01/31/2004 4:27:27 PM PST by JustAmy (God Bless our Troops, God Bless President Bush and God Bless America)
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