back to article NASA closing on fix for Opportunity rover's 'amnesia'

NASA says it's close to a fix for the flash memory problems plaguing the plucky Opportunity rover, which is now nearing its eleventh year of Martian trundling. The problems surfaced last year and created a form of amnesia that NASA boffins decided was caused by one of seven memory banks aboard the rover. The good news is that …

  1. DropBear
    Boffin

    Erm...

    I'm having a bit of a problem here converting watt-hours to jigawatts - somehow the units don't seem to balance out...

  2. Richard Ball

    Note the guy didn't use the terms brick or bsod.

    Obviously chooses his words carefully.

  3. Simon Harris Silver badge

    Reinstalling the OS on a >12 year old machine.

    Now all I have to do is to remember that safe place where I put that bit of paper on which I made a note of the licence key.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Coat

      Re: Reinstalling the OS on a >12 year old machine.

      And then wait a *very* long time for all the updates and reboots to install over very narrow bandwidth...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reinstalling the OS on a >12 year old machine.

      I just tape the key to the underside of the machine.

      Uh oh.... How far does that selfie camera reach again?

  4. ravenviz
    Coat

    rover's flight software

    Wow, I didn't know Opportunity could fly as well! No wonder it's low on battery!

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: rover's flight software

      Well it was designed by the Jet Propulsion Lab!

    2. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

      Re: rover's flight software

      Nice! I thought something similar and had a Google moment. Turns out that it isn't the flight software as it was replaced. From that font of all knowledge, Wikipedia:

      Activities such as taking pictures, driving, and operating the instruments are performed in a command sequence that is sent from the flight team to the rover. The rover installed its full surface operations software after the landing because its computers did not have room for it during flight. The new software essentially replaced the flight software.

  5. AbelSoul
    Thumb Up

    Lovely

    The vista shown in that composite is fantastic.

    Amazing that after all this time the little blighter is still sending back not only valuable science data but wonderful images.

    Fantastic bit of engineering.

    1. Bob H

      Re: Lovely

      I didn't think Vista would install on 256MB of flash?

      (I'll get my coat)

  6. Alistair Silver badge
    Alien

    Opportunity knocks.

    And keeps on knocking apparently. Someone really needs to open that door.

    (alien not listening dammit)

    -- That said you can't find any fault here, its way overdue for a vacation on the beach.

  7. imanidiot Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well engineered

    My hats off to all engineers involved. First of designing something that can last that much longer than intended in the first place and then actually keeping it going from millions of miles away. I think Opportunity is a fine example of what NASA is actually capable off if given half a chance.

  8. Misky
    Coat

    New OS huh?

    Just wait for the new version to install and then they find out the interface is buggered and theirs no Start button... Patches ahoy!

    1. Martin
      Headmaster

      Re: New OS huh?

      ...and THERE'S no Start button. Sigh.

  9. goldfish

    If only industry made more products which can last as well as the Rover, we'd have 300 year old cars, smartphones that were invented by Alexander Graham Bell, submarines by Jules Verne and the everlasting Gobstopper by Willy Wonka.... sigh...

    And they'd all still keep working.

    1. MrShade

      It's the high price of progress. The Model T Ford works perfectly as motorised transport, but nobody seriously drives one because new, better cars exist.

      Why have a phone that you have to wind up, then barely hear the operator when you ask them to connect the once-a-month phonecall you make because of how much it costs, when you can have a smartphone that is basically a pocket computer with free phonecalls.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If ever there was a machine that qualified for the title of hero, this is surely it.

  11. JJKing Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I wonder how many of their bollocks they would give to be able to add 2 or 3 x 1TB SSDs right now. :-)

    I know there are computers that were built in 2003 that are still running now but they have had an "update" or two but they are considered older than dinosaurs IT wise. Opportunity wasn't built in 2003 but launched then. What was the current IT hardware available when they designed and then built the darn thing. That thing amazes the crap out of me. Plus, anyone remember the HP inkjet advert when Opportunity landed?

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