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(IT World)   Video may have killed the radio star but it was DOS that almost killed the Mars Spirit rover   (itworld.com) divider line 22
    More: Cool, Spirit rover, flavors, radio star, bugs, Opportunity rover, flash memory, battery power, telemetry  
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3716 clicks; posted to Geek » on 25 Jan 2013 at 9:52 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-25 10:04:24 AM
No, it was a third party library and the lack of proper testing that almost killed the rover.

DOS alone made the rover possible.
 
2013-01-25 10:09:21 AM
I recall reading a while back that this is why a lot of the software used in space is old as dirt. Bugs are doom to space missions, and older software is more thoroughly vetted for bugs.
 
2013-01-25 10:10:12 AM
Is DOS really that popular in robotics, that they thought it might be a good idea to build a rover around it?
 
2013-01-25 10:10:18 AM
It is by DOS alone I set my rover roving. It is by the light of Sol that rover gains some speed, the tracks acquire dust. The dust become a warning. It is by DOS alone I set my rover roving.
 
2013-01-25 10:14:59 AM
FTFA: Spirit then continued to operate until March 22, 2010 (Sol 2210), well beyond it's initial planned lifespan of 90 solar days.

angryflower.com/itsits.gif
 
2013-01-25 10:19:52 AM
I think the rovers were running VxWorks RTOS, and I have the feeling that the only thing that DOS can be associated with is the FAT file system on the Flash drive.
 
2013-01-25 10:20:55 AM

sxacho: It is by DOS alone I set my rover roving. It is by the light of Sol that rover gains some speed, the tracks acquire dust. The dust become a warning. It is by DOS alone I set my rover roving.


Correct me if I'm wrong but they didn't specify the DOS used. It's easy to assume they meant MS-DOS but well I don't like to assum.e
 
2013-01-25 10:22:03 AM
They should have used v4.1
 
2013-01-25 11:17:18 AM
Oh, that DOS. I was wondering how a Denial Of Service attack was launched on a Mars rover.
 
2013-01-25 12:37:54 PM
So essentially, they broke the reboot cycle by booting into safe mode.  Geez, that does sound familiar.
 
2013-01-25 12:46:23 PM

traylor: I think the rovers were running VxWorks RTOS, and I have the feeling that the only thing that DOS can be associated with is the FAT file system on the Flash drive.


That's what I'm thinking, too.
 
2013-01-25 12:57:22 PM
It seems pretty reckless to use such a bleeding edge and untested OS like DOS for something so critical.

That's why all of my space probes and robots use CP/M.
 
2013-01-25 01:04:29 PM

Eddie Adams from Torrance: It seems pretty reckless to use such a bleeding edge and untested OS like DOS for something so critical.


Actually it would be pretty reckless to use DOS for something so critical. I am sure that why they didn't (as pointed out above).
 
2013-01-25 01:59:55 PM
Okay, here's what I don't get -- why didn't Opportunity suffer from the same issue?
 
2013-01-25 02:07:17 PM

HugsAndPuppies: Okay, here's what I don't get -- why didn't Opportunity suffer from the same issue?


FTFA:
Finally, on Sol 21, the ground team was able to get the rover out its reboot cycle
I think that was before Opportunity landed on Mars. They probably uploaded a work around before the problem occured.
 
2013-01-25 02:47:51 PM
Finally, on Sol 21, the ground team was able to get the rover out its reboot cycle, by putting Spirit into "crippled" mode. What this did was allow the FSW to start up without accessing the flash memory, instead using the system RAM as a simulated file system. By doing this, they could finally tell the rover to shut down in order to recharge its batteries and buy themselves time to diagnose the root cause and come up with a solution.

Safe mode saves the day!!!
 
2013-01-25 02:57:12 PM
DOS doesn't know that it's 2004 and not 1984, so there's no inherent problem with using an old-but-familiar OS in newfangled space-age technology.

The problem here, I think, was that the FORTRAN subroutines that controlled the punchcard loader used the same vacuum tube processors as the nixie tube displays on Spirit's armature. Thank goodness they had the infinitely-long-paper-tape backup, or that could have been disastrous.
 
2013-01-25 03:00:44 PM

WorkingInParadise: Oh, that DOS. I was wondering how a Denial Of Service attack was launched on a Mars rover.


I love this idea, by the way. Get on it, hackers. Make the new rover laser-blast a picture of a dick into some Martian rock for all eternity.
 
2013-01-25 03:21:55 PM

semiotix: DOS doesn't know that it's 2004 and not 1984, so there's no inherent problem with using an old-but-familiar OS in newfangled space-age technology.

The problem here, I think, was that the FORTRAN subroutines that controlled the punchcard loader used the same vacuum tube processors as the nixie tube displays on Spirit's armature. Thank goodness they had the infinitely-long-paper-tape backup, or that could have been disastrous.


I make my papertape backups into mobius strips, that way they're not only infinitely long, but they're double sided as well.
 
2013-01-25 04:03:23 PM
FAT is not DOS, it's a file system that happens to have been used by DOS (among many many other devices and operating systems).
 
2013-01-25 05:06:45 PM

Eddie Adams from Torrance: semiotix: DOS doesn't know that it's 2004 and not 1984, so there's no inherent problem with using an old-but-familiar OS in newfangled space-age technology.

The problem here, I think, was that the FORTRAN subroutines that controlled the punchcard loader used the same vacuum tube processors as the nixie tube displays on Spirit's armature. Thank goodness they had the infinitely-long-paper-tape backup, or that could have been disastrous.

I make my papertape backups into mobius strips, that way they're not only infinitely long, but they're double sided as well.


A Mobius strip only has one side.
 
2013-01-25 06:10:02 PM
I know one of the guys who fixed that bug.

Old news is old.

Like, really old.
 
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