low spirits

Posted:

Nasa rover breaks down on Mars:

«Nasa’s Mars rover Spirit has stopped sending useful data to Earth from the Red Planet and mission scientists are unable to send it commands.

Nasa says the problem could either be due to a major power fault, software corruption or memory corruption. »

Knowing that Spirit is running java for some of its systems, one might be tempted to crack wise. However, James Gosling says that there’s no Java on board the rover:

«For the command and control system, big parts of it are this rather large Java application. There are a lot of parts involved in this. The Rover itself has a computer onboard. There’s no Java in that computer now. But on the ground-side, there are a number of parts of the whole command and control chain that goes out to the Rover that’s done in Java. It’s not like every last piece of every subsystem is based on the Java code. Great big pieces of it are. In particular, all the data visualization, user interface front-end stuff and I believe a whole lot of the database stuff is.»

Will this contretemps hinder Bush’s ambitious manned Mars mission?

[Original use.perl.org post and comments.]