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Glitch forces Mars probe shut-off

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posted on Sep, 4 2005 @ 02:14 PM
The BBC are reporting that the Mars Global Surveyor is currently running in 'safe mode'.

Without any jokes about the MS Windows operating system, the article clarifies this, and also highlights the current consequences:

The spacecraft has switched into a "safe mode", in which the instruments and some other systems are turned off.

Team members are racing to get the probe out of this mode so it can photograph the presumed crash site of a US Mars mission lost in 1999.

The pictures could decide whether design changes are needed on a probe due to launch for Mars in 2007.

Next week will provide the last opportunity to take images of the crash site of Mars Polar Lander (MPL) for another two years.

Clearly as they are trying to learn from the earlier expedition sight of the crash site is going to be very useful.

As this is a conspiracy site, I guess I ought to be thinking the worst, so what if it's all just a ploy to manage public expectation, so when the terrifyingly awful truth of the crash site is caught on film, pressure to release it will be off, as we were told you that the MGS was BSOD and well, these things happen, it just didn't reboot in time, you know how it is, etc, etc...

EDIT: Oops, silly me, I forgot to add an opinion.

Personally I hope that they do get it back running in time, I'd have thought that lots could be learnt from a good set of data from the crash site, so I'd say good luck to 'em.

[edit on 4-9-2005 by 0951]

posted on Sep, 4 2005 @ 08:10 PM
Correct me if Im wrong but it is MS Windows fault?
Cause I like don't get it lol

posted on Sep, 4 2005 @ 11:04 PM
Everything is Microsoft's fault.

jk. Just windows.

No microsoft has nothing to do with the surveyor, so there's nothing to get.

Good find. I hope they get it up and working in time. Seeing the crash site will no doubt be a big discovery. I don't think they'll be able to do any super-in-depth examinations though, but I expect they'll glean something from the wreckage. We need robots to build a base there. Then we can get somewhere.

posted on Sep, 4 2005 @ 11:10 PM
Yeahm i think the OS the probes use is somesort of variant of unix or linux. They arent very powerful by our computer standards either 20 Mhz processor i think, but it can survive the cold of space.

posted on Sep, 5 2005 @ 01:32 AM
Sorry if the jokes about MS clouded the real story ...

(It's not going to be using Windows - I just found the same terminology gave some scope for irony. I guess the deliberate usage of familiar computing terms by news organisations was intended to make the story more accessible).

Anyway ...

The Command and Data Handling Subsystem computing hardware onboard the MGS is here:

I'd imagine that what we'd think of as the embedded 'operating system' is going to be a hand-rolled very tight machine coded bit of firmware, specifically build to do the job it needs to do, it won't be built like any of the PC OS's.

Each subsystem is going to have it's own embedded OS too I'd expect, so any failure doesn't compromise the whole.

That said, MGS has been performing well for years, and it's way beyond it's original end of mission date, which was 31st Jan 2000 (I think), so maybe it's only fair enough that it's getting a bit frail.


posted on Sep, 5 2005 @ 05:15 AM
Didn't some probe to Jupitor or Saturn dupe into 'Safe Mode' a cpl years ago, too? Maybe it was headed for an asteroid.. I don't recall.
But yeah... nothing to do with BillyOS. Just a term used for "absolute most basic way to get the system up and running and allow user interaction."

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