Writing software for the Mars missions
Friday, July 11, 2008
There are probably few things that are cooler than writing software for the Mars missions. Well, writing any kind of software is cool enough, but seeing part of the thing you have created running in a different atmosphere must be thrilling.
The latest mission took about 1 million lines of C code, and thousands of men-hours. Have a listen (or a read)
to an interview with the main software engineer for the mission, Peter Gluck. The main intro goes as follows:
The Mars Phoenix Lander Mission is a short-term mission to Mars to search for signs of water and a potential habitable site for an eventual manned mission to the Red Planet. This mission is a collaboration between NASA and the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
Sending hundreds of pounds of equipment millions of miles through space to land and operate independently from direct control presents several interesting software development challenges. O'Reilly News recently discussed the project and its technology with NASA's Peter Gluck.
This is some fascinating stuff.