This weekend the Mars rover has been getting what NASA calls a “brain transplant,” a new version of flight software that’s better suited for working on the surface of Mars, such as driving and using Curiosity’s powerful robotic arm and drill. It will also give the rover better image processing ability so it can avoid obstacles while driving as well as go on longer drives.
The software upgrade began the evening of August 10 and should be complete on August 13.
It’s a pretty big deal considering the remote update is happening from 350 million miles away and if something goes wrong it could mean the last contact anyone has with Curiosity.
“It has to work,” Steve Scandore, a senior flight software engineer at JPL, told Computerworld. “You don’t’ want to be known as the guy doing the last activity on the rover before you lose contact.”