back to article Mars helicopter mission (which Apache says is powered byLog4j) overcomes separate network glitch to confirm new flight record

NASA has revealed that Ingenuity – the experimental helicopter sent to Mars with the Perseverance Rover – has clocked up a whole half-hour of flight in the Red Planet's meanly thin atmosphere. The 'copter passed the thirty-minute mark during its 17th flight, on December 5, which sets a new record for the space agency. But …

  1. oldtaku
    Devil

    Safe as long as the trolls don't have space internet access

    They do have a space internet running, with TCP/IP optimized for the crazy long round trip times, but it's safe as long as the Chinese, Iranian, Russians, Norks, 4channers, or other purely malicious trolls can't get at it. China might not bother since there's not much IP they could gain from hacking Ingenuity, but Russia would do it from pure spite since destroying nice things (like the ISS) is all they can do now.

    Of course someone's computer at JWP is probably on both Worst Internet (our normal internet) and Space Internet, so I sure hope they have things firewalled well and there's nowhere for the jndi query to go.

    At least the rover is running VxWorks, so that's pretty solid.

    1. Howard Sway Silver badge

      Re: Safe as long as the trolls don't have space internet access

      Well it appears that it managed to log into twitter using space internet and tell us what it's doing............ let's hope it doesn't get bored with looking at rocks and decides to start trolling celebrities instead.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Safe as long as the trolls don't have space internet access

        Is it just the media, including El Reg that thinks it's "cute" to quote these tweets or does NASA not have twitter feeds for adults any more? All we seem to get these days are the tweets from the feed aimed at 12 year olds and younger.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Safe as long as the trolls don't have space internet access

          "All we seem to get these days are the tweets from the feed aimed at 12 year olds and younger."

          Given the development time and life endurance of space projects - then you need to get the next generations interested. The biographies of eminent science people often mention an epiphany when they were still quite young.

        2. John Geek

          Re: Safe as long as the trolls don't have space internet access

          that pretty much describes *all* of twitter. tweets are for twits.

      2. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Safe as long as the trolls don't have space internet access

        I have to assume that some link in that route has a router that forwards Martian addresses, in violation of RFC 1812

  2. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
    Alien

    IoT always the weakest link in the network....

    The 50 million mile air gap means nothing, earthling. All your networks are ours!

    1. Nifty Silver badge

      Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

      Air gap?

      1. derrr

        Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

        Airless gap :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

        Technically space isn't a vacuum, so there will be air its just there might be several mega meters between the atoms which would compose it.

        1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

          Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

          Was reading an article last week about how the Voyagers 1 and 2 had discovered after leaving the solar system, that the density of space was increasing the further out they got. This was unexpected, and reasons were given why this might be the case, but it's unknown if this is simply the bow wave of the solar system as it were, as it travels round the galaxy or if the atmosphere will keep getting thicker all the way into another discovery.

          If it keeps up, we may end up swimming to Alpha Centauri! :p

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

            If nothing else, it certainly decreases the chances of travelling through space at any significant proportion of the speed of light without some very heavy bow shielding. Not only is space not empty, it may be even less empty than we thought :-)

            1. theblackhand

              Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

              So there is less space in space than we initially thought? Do we have the space needed in space to make more space if we do run out of space?

    2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

      Well, that would make for a very, very remote code execution

    3. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: IoT always the weakest link in the network....

      That won't hold back security researchers at Ben-Gurion University

  3. Zanzibar Rastapopulous

    Nothing there....

    So what has the Mars helicopter produced?

    1. ClockworkOwl
      Stop

      Re: Nothing here....

      Yet another empty and pointless statement from you...

    2. the small snake
      Alien

      Re: Nothing there....

      Has shown that we can use a production version of such a machine to scout ahead of rovers thus radically improving visibility for them and enabling them to go further, faster and in more useful directions.

      Sadly in your dismal grey universe none of that has purpose since no exploration of Mars has any purpose because you are dismal grey human and all is dismal grey wasteland for you. Sad.

    3. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

      Re: Nothing there....

      It’s produced physical results than can be compared against models, predictions and estimates of the astrophysics required to fly in the thin Martian atmosphere. Now they have hard data from a concept vehicle, they can plan a much more useful and capable vehicle that will hopefully become as useful as the rovers Spirit and Opportunity became over their long lives.

    4. karlkarl Silver badge

      Re: Nothing there....

      It has produced more knowledge than I have just now whilst typing these words.

    5. redpawn Silver badge

      Re: Nothing there....

      Yes, a mind like a steel trap, nothing gets in, nothing gets out. But really every penny spent on the project remains on earth and you are free to seek them.

      1. Zanzibar Rastapopulous

        Re: Nothing there....

        > "But really every penny spent on the project remains on earth..."

        You mean they didn't actually send anything to Mars at all. What a brilliant notion!

    6. Spherical Cow

      Re: Nothing there....

      It produced a lot more happiness from a single flight than all of your comments combined.

    7. fidodogbreath Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Nothing there....

      Please do not feed these ----------------->

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Meanwhile, in 2255, the Federation regrets being locked into a long-term Oracle contract...

    "The probe used multiple SQL injections but I've yet to find any compromised files"

  5. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Diligence?

    So NASA is using 3rd party open source Java libraries on space missions without verifying the code?

    Sorry, silly me. Nobody actually looks at the source any more.

    1. the small snake
      Boffin

      Re: Diligence?

      One of the reasons Ingenuity was so cheap was that it used lots of standard software and hardware (is pretty much a phone inside I think). Making it cheap (and light, but needs to be light anyway) is what enabled them to get it to Mars. They can do that because if it failed it did not matter: it was and is a demonstrator: simply working was the goal, any science was not intended and would be a bonus. They knew the risks: going through all the millions of lines of code (log4j is tiny fraction: entire Linux kernel in there, many video processing libraries, many many things) would have made it so expensive they could not have gone.

      Perseverance is ... different. It's not using log4j.

      1. Caver_Dave
        Boffin

        Re: Diligence?

        Yes, small snake, 'phone processor and Linux in the 'coptor.

        VxWorks is the OS on Perseverance, as it was on all the predecessor missions.

    2. Zanzibar Rastapopulous

      Re: Diligence?

      The copter was an after thought because they couldn't think of anything else to put there so, no, they didn't really care that much.

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Dippywood

    Sorry Jeff...

    ...exploitation of the Log4j bug on Mars is a million to one..

    With apologies to Jeff Wayne:

    The chances of anything happening on Mars are a million to one, they said

    The chances of anything happening on Mars are a million to one,

    But...

    1. Phones Sheridan Bronze badge

      Re: Sorry Jeff...

      But... as any fule kno, million to one chances happen nine times out of ten!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sorry Jeff...

        A colleague wrote a diagnostic for a condition on the live mainframe. He knew that it would occasionally print a false error message on the operator's console if it hit a "one in a million" limit condition in his logic.

        He forgot that his code was being obeyed so often that "one in a million" happened every few minutes - to great annoyance of the operators.

        1. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Sorry Jeff...

          In the days before PCs my dads uni had a computer that payroll etc and for some reason it would send shit to the printer and then write "Spurious Characters" to admit its mistake.

          One day it printed out the professorial names and payroll followed by the admission.

  8. Uncle Ron

    Consumer

    It seems to me that the "Ingenuity" people could have used off-the-shelf components (of course not the rotor blades and motors) for tracking, imaging, and more. The intelligence and control of, for example, the DJI stuff is amazing, and the quality of imaging is far better than what I have seen from the Mars copter. Sad.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Consumer

      I think the point is that they did use off the shelf stuff. And DJI is a Chinese company. NASA can't work with them or use their kit, even if they wanted to.

  9. man_iii

    Syslog or log4j which is better for iot

    Wouldnt the native system loggers be the better option for logging rather than java-based app loggers? Especially for embedded systems? So you just tell the app to handover output to the system and let the system write/process the logs using its builtin or native tools?

    1. John Geek

      Re: Syslog or log4j which is better for iot

      log4j is how you do that from a java app unless you want to deal with JNI native code wrappers.

  10. JDX Gold badge
    Facepalm

    I think we can consider this an air-gapped system

    Although most of it isn't air.

    1. Dippywood

      Re: I think we can consider this an air-gapped system

      Indeed - the air itself is vacuum-gapped

  11. HaugeMannen

    safe nevertheless?

    It is correct Jet Propulsion Labs earlier this year attributed many Open Source developers for their contributions to the (succesful) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter project.

    JPL recently released the flight control system on board Ingenuity as open source (fprime, or F´) which is written in Python and C++, including the flight control log system (it will build on several systems, also on ARM Linux for Raspberry pi and (obvious) the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor on board).

    The fprime source code include an example module for attaching and communicating with a GPS receiver on the Raspberry, so probably the flight control system also is in charge off sensors on board the helicopter (inclinometer, altimeter, cameras).

    There is of course a supporting Linux operating system, I guess very basic, where common sense would imply running a Java dependent Apache server on a "mobile phone" just for logging would be "overkill".

    The Log4j vulnerability may be found in another place of the Ingenuity Linux ecosystem than on board - or I may be wrong :)

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