Mars Rovers get new Firmware

A number of sites are reporting on the recent firmware upgrade of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The rovers are beginning their fourth 'Mars year' on the surface of the read planet. While it is the fourth 'Mars year', today, January 4th, we celebrate the third 'Earth year' anniversary of the touchdown of Spirit.

The new firmware is designed to field test four new skills including image processing/recognition, visual target tracking, target reaching ability calculations for the arm on the rovers and terrain mapping algorithms. NASA has been developing these systems for next gen craft, which they dub "thinking spacecraft". What better way to test new technology then in the field...especially when the field is over 35 million miles away.

This software upgrade is the largest modification of the flight data computer since they left earth.

Here's hoping year 4 will be a good as the last three!

http://marsrovers.nasa.gov/newsroom/pressreleases/20061228a.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16454435/from/ET/

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