WN: What kind of software runs the rovers? Is its OS derived from a common one we'd be familiar with?Xeni, you are my hero!
Reeves: It's a proprietary, commercial OS -- VxWorks, by Wind River.
WN: Isn't that a legacy OS for embedded systems from the 1980s that doesn't allow you to use virtual memory? Does its age account for some of your problems?
Reeves: I'm happy to report that it's working very well for us. I've been using it since the late 1980s, and it's very well-suited for our needs. It was used before on the Pathfinder, as well as on Lockheed Martin spacecraft and on two orbiters.
For us, maturity and support are the biggest factors in software decisions. We want something that's been around a while with a wide user base.
Friday, January 30, 2004
"Hello Earth, I'm rebooting, Bye." Rover
Xeni Jardin interviews Glenn Reeves, Mars Exploration Rover flight software architect, for Wired news.