16
Apr
07

Mars probe killed by software update

Please! Everyone! Try to keep the Microsoft jokes to a minimum! 🙂

NASA has reported that a software patch uploaded to the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft in June 2006 directly caused its failure some five months later. Because of the patch, the spacecraft entered a special “error mode” and reoriented itself. The new position exposed one of the batteries to the sun, which fried it like an Apple laptop.

The Surveyor had ten good years, though, the longest any probe has spent studying Mars.

Near the bottom of the linked article suggests that maybe cost cutbacks contributed to this failure.

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2 Responses to “Mars probe killed by software update”


  1. April 17, 2007 at 12:30 am

    “Near the bottom of the linked article suggests that maybe cost cutbacks contributed to this failure.”

    Or the absence of an automatic rollback feature.

  2. April 17, 2007 at 10:07 am

    That comes down to cost cutting again, to implement that feature or at least have staff to recognise the need for it.


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