NASA: DOS Glitch Nearly Killed Mars Rover

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bobw

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I found an article with an update on the memory glitches earlier in the mission. <br /><br />STANFORD, CALIF. -- A software glitch that paralyzed the Mars "Spirit" rover earlier this year was caused by an unanticipated characteristic of a DOS file system, a NASA scientist said Monday.<br /><br />Here's The Link<br /><br />I guess it's a must-read for us hard-core space trivia nuts <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> but it's Copyright © 2001-2004: Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. All rights reserved so I better not post it here. <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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earth_bound_misfit

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Crikey, good thing it didn't need a dongle reset or a physcal reset <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br /> i wonder if the other rover needed a software patch? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------- </p><p>Wanna see this site looking like the old SDC uplink?</p><p>Go here to see how: <strong>SDC Eye saver </strong>  </p> </div>
 
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thinice

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It's not a glitch in DOS (did they mean FAT?) file system. It's a glitch in the heads of these third party developers and NASA engeneers. FAT is virtually everywhere. It's in the flash card of your pocket digital camera. Yet nobody experiences FAT directory tree overflow except NASA.
 
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siarad

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I seem to recall a computer that did a sort of similar thing when writing to discs. It always wrote to a new area, even though a reusable area was available, meaning it ran out of storage even when the disc was blank! A format was the only way to reuse the disc which meant copying anything still required first. I guess it was a hangover from core memory where data was always 'moved' to be used as it couldn't be copied.
 
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thechemist

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Good article !<br />But the title is misleading, imho.<br />The text clarifies that allowing dynamic memory allocation where they shouldn't have is to blame. Not DOS.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>I feel better than James Brown.</em> </div>
 
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silylene old

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Sounds more like a Wind River OS problem, as I suspected. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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bobw

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The ExtremeTech crowd does like to blame everything on Bill. The only problem with a linux rover is which distro! <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> Seriously, it does seem pretty wierd that nobody noticed that the os was trying to mirror 256MB into 128MB. I guess we are lucky that they didn't take more pictures on the way to Mars, it could have overflowed on the way down. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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mikejz

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Maybe they should build a rover that runs on a basic stamp.....
 
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spacechump

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They are both linux rovers. They are running a real-time embedded version of it.
 
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earth_bound_misfit

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why have only 128mb ram, 512mb wouldn't be much bigger or expensive. Damn sure if i was sending something to somewhere that you can't get ur hands on it again, that it would have double the capacity required redundacity. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------- </p><p>Wanna see this site looking like the old SDC uplink?</p><p>Go here to see how: <strong>SDC Eye saver </strong>  </p> </div>
 
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mikejz

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Well actually Rad hardened memory is not cheap--and its not really an issue of how much the rover can store, its the speed that it can send it to earth.
 
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jcdenton

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FAT is ubiquitous when it comes to transferring data on to digital devices and sometimes has issues with Linux's file system (ext2).<br /><br />On a related note, MS is trying to patent FAT, which would spell doom for Linux. The US Patent Office is currently reviewing this claim (and I hope they revoke it!). <img src="/images/icons/mad.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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earth_bound_misfit

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Cheers Mike, ur right. I was thinking within the square. I totally overlooked the radiation factor. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p><p>----------------------------------------------------------------- </p><p>Wanna see this site looking like the old SDC uplink?</p><p>Go here to see how: <strong>SDC Eye saver </strong>  </p> </div>
 
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