NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity is getting New Software Installed

This mosaic image shows part of the left side of NASA's Curiosity rover and two blast marks from the descent stage's rocket engines. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(Best Syndication News) - Between August 10 through August 13, NASA will be giving Mars rover Curiosity a “brain transplant” via a new software program. The new programming will include the code used for the next phase of the mission.

The software was sent to the rover’s memory while it was being transported from Earth to Mars. Now that the rover has landed on Mars, the new software will aid in surface operations.

The software reprogramming was planned from the start of the mission. The current software that was operating Curiosity was to help in landing the rover on the Martian surface.

The next software will assist the rover in navigating the surface with image processing technology. This will help the rover see obstacles in the way. The rover will be able to drive longer distances independently. It will know if there are problems in the path ahead and it will be able to determine a safe path to travel. The software will also retool Curiosity to be able to use the robotic arm.

The mission’s science team is currently studying the images that the rover has taken inside Gale Crater while the new software is being installed.

By: Julie Marcus
Science and Technology Writer

http://www.nasa.gov/mars

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