A major software update to the Curiosity rover will allow the robot to drive faster on Mars and reduce wear on its wheels, which could extend the mission’s life.
These are just two of the 180 changes applied to Curiosity between April 3 and April 7. It’s the first significant rover software update since 2016.
Cathia Zamora-Garcia, Curiosity Project Manager at NASA, said launch. “This is a major software update, and we had to make sure we got it right.”
Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012; Since then, the rover has been exploring the Gale Crater on Mars. Investigate ancient water signsAnd meteoritesAnd Strange rock formations They were all part of her wheelhouse.
One of the most significant software changes has improved the rover’s maneuverability. Curiosity can now take pictures of MArtian deck while independently navigating the terrain. This will save the rover –Mars scientists –time.
“Less time spent idling between bits of driving also means we use less energy each day. Even though we’re almost 11 years old, we’re still implementing new ideas to use more energy,” Jonathan Dennis, Curiosity’s chief engineering officer, said in the same release. Our energy available for scientific activities.
Over the past 12 years, Curiosity’s wheels have been damaged by sharp rocks on Mars. The Curiosity team has included an algorithm in a software update that will allow the rover to adjust its speed depending on the terrain; In other words, when spiky-looking boulders appear, the rover will tread carefully. It’s the Martian equivalent of crater navigation.
Among other software changes were two new navigation commands to reduce the amount of steering the rover has to do, a way to move the rover’s arms and mast more easily, simplification of pre-existing code on the rover, and tracks to make it easier for future software patches to install.
Will the public see the fruits of this software update? To know, you have to see how much Curiosity covers.
More: The best images from Mars in 2022
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