Mars Rover’s ChemCam Instrument gets sharper vision

Likewise, the laser analyses were done at nine different focus settings to obtain one good set of data. In the meantime, the team went back to the drawing board. They figured out that if they discarded a lot of the old code on board their distant subject, they could make room for software that could command the instrument to take the nine images on its own and analyze them on-board to find the best focus.

Source: Mars Rover’s ChemCam Instrument gets sharper vision

The program to run the whole instrument is only 40 kilobytes. The first tests on Mars were completed earlier this week.

China: The Next Space Superpower

“They are having launches, and in the United States we’re in gridlock,” says Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, in Newport, R.I. “The Chinese will have a rover onthe moon, and we’re still developing PowerPoints for programs that don’t get approved by Congress.” That rover is rolling over the regolith right now.

via China: The Next Space Superpower – IEEE Spectrum.

NASA has a couple rovers on Mars.

NASA’S Mars Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation

The drive on Tuesday, the mission’s 376th Martian day, or “sol,” took Curiosity across a depression where ground-surface details had not been visible from the location where the previous drive ended. The drive included about 33 feet (10 meters) of autonomous navigation across hidden ground as part of a day’s total drive of about 141 feet (43 meters).

“We could see the area before the dip, and we told the rover where to drive on that part. We could see the ground on the other side, where we designated a point for the rover to end the drive, but Curiosity figured out for herself how to drive the uncharted part in between,” said JPL’s John Wright, a rover driver.

via NASA’S Mars Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation – NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Mars Science Laboratory: Update Set In San Francisco About Curiosity Mars Rover

Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect. The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover’s full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil. One class of substances Curiosity is checking for is organic compounds — carbon-containing chemicals that can be ingredients for life. At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.

via Mars Science Laboratory: Update Set In San Francisco About Curiosity Mars Rover.

Probably in reference to this site:

Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Press Releases.

It had me going for awhile and it’s not even April 1.  People like having fun on these intertubes.  :-)

Open source software is key to transferring large amounts of data to us, quickly

But, dig beneath the hood of this story—and the diagram included—and you’ll see another story. One that points to the key role of open source software in making this phenomenal mission work and the results available to so many, so quickly.

via Open source software is key to transferring large amounts of data to us, quickly | opensource.com.

Perhaps the most important piece of this high-demand configuration, GlusterFS is an open source, distributed file system capable of scaling to several petabytes (actually, 72 brontobites!) and handling thousands of clients. GlusterFS clusters together storage building blocks over Infiniband RDMA or TCP/IP interconnect, aggregating disk and memory resources and managing data in a single global namespace.