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Spirit 'Will Be Perfect Again'

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the we-get-signal-main-screen-turn-on dept.

Space 331

G. Holst writes "NASA technicians are preparing to wipe Spirit's flash memory clean of science and engineering files that have stymied its software. The fix, likely to be made Friday, could completely restore Spirit. "I think it will be perfect again," says the Mission Manager. Chalk this one up for earth!" There are numerous stories about Spirit and Mars: one describes being careful with rm -rf. Reader Tablizer sends in an interesting site: "I discovered Bill Momsen's website where he describes his experiences working on the first successful photographic mission to another planet: Mariner IV to Mars."

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Wockka woccka. (-1, Offtopic)

W32.Klez.A (656478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137158)

Hi. My name is Eric Garipunto. Quit throwing cinder blocks at me.

ORF ORF ORF ORF

Re:Wockka woccka. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137221)

OMG TEHY SET US UP TEH mARS!!!
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Reason: Don't use so many caps. It's like yalla.

Hello (no) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137281)

roverse.cx, click here to update your trial version shareware only half an ashole of a rover is spread in the demo so purchase now

Re:Wockka woccka. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137291)

That's ok NASA, just tell them you were smoking pot.
They'll understand.

Re:Wockka woccka. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137474)

he is sounding forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat
he is sifting out the hearts of men before his judgment seat
oh be swift my soul to answer him be jubilant my feet
our god is marching on!

glory glory hallelujah!
glory glory hallelujah!
glory glory hallelujah!
his truth is marching on!

DEATH TO ALL EUROPEANS AND ASIANS!

Re:Wockka woccka. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137512)

I thought you were not first posting? You lied to me!

If this is not the first post... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137169)

...I will tangle my pubic hair in my bicycle's chain and ride myself down a rocky cliff.

As always, links to video will be posted!

If this is not the first post... (0, Offtopic)

monadicIO (602882) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137212)

Wish you a very safe and enjoyable journey.

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137223)

Now get a-tanglin' and post a link to the video later.

Spirit got lost (-1, Offtopic)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137173)

Spirit Got Lost - Mental As Anything

somebody said that it's not a good time to sell
economy's down and your mind is unsound
and your body's an empty shell

my spirit got lost now something is missing
all the people round here are too bony for kissing

i was lying in bed when i woke up dead
i was cool ... but not too calm
must've stolen my soul through a photograph
or a jungle voodoo charm

my spirit got lost now something is missing
all the people round here are too bony for kissing

we dance around the gravestones
and we drag the chains around
we clatter 'n clank 'n we chatter 'n skank
and when we get down it's into the ground

there'll always be a chair for you in the corner of my heart
a table for two for me and you for as long as we're apart

my spirit got lost now something is missing
all the people round here are too bony for kissing

we dance around the gravestones
and we drag the chains around
we clatter 'n clank 'n we chatter 'n skank
and when we get down it's into the ground

from cradle to grave then back to the cradle again
six hundred dumb creatures to make up the souls of ten men chorus

flash... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137176)

I'm reminded of the unforgettable Queen song:


Flash, a-ha, saviour of the universe

Flash, a-ha, he'll save everyone of us.....

Re:flash... (4, Funny)

KingDaveRa (620784) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137390)

Flash, a-ha, its full of files Flash, a-ha, run rm -rf

or fubar it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137178)

"The fix, likely to be made Friday, could completely restore Spirit"

or fubar it.

Re:or fubar it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137280)

Doesn't lit run Linux? This si a testicel to teh strength on the Lunix colonel.

Re:or fubar it.... (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137477)

Uh, no it doesn't run Linux.

Bad, Bad. stop feeding the trolls...

frist post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137190)

frost pist!

err.. ok, I'm dumb.

Any theories on what caused the corruption? (0)

ChiralSoftware (743411) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137198)

The cosmic rays that are outside of the Earth's magnetosphere very energetic. Is that what likely caused this? Or could it be something else? If I open a branch office there, will we need special case mods to protect the BIOS?

Re:Any theories on what caused the corruption? (5, Interesting)

Wiser87 (742455) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137320)

Actually, it looks like it wasn't a case with the flash memory being corrupted, but rather it having to many files...

"We also yesterday completed a scan of the flash memory. This provided us with some important diagnostic information. We are now able to tell that when we mount the flash memory, it does in fact take a lot of the system RAM in the process. In fact, more system RAM than is available. So that's helping confirm the theory we had that the reason the restarts were hanging up was because we were running out of memory when we are trying to mount the flash memory.

Re:Any theories on what caused the corruption? (2, Insightful)

sabrex15 (746201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137469)

It kind of makes me wonder, hadn't they dont extensive testing of the rovers before they sent them off?... I thought they did full-walkthrough type tests on the rovers here on earth, i.e taking pictures, navigating.. but what?... now the darn thing runs out of memory?.. I bet someone is smacking themselves for not checking that out properly beforehand.

Re:Any theories on what caused the corruption? (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137341)

Apparently it was simply too many files and the FS ran out of inodes. Remember that they're constrained to a 256MB file system. It wouldn't surprise me if they used an 8 bit or 16 bit number for the inode count. (Ah, the joys of Vx(Doesn't)Works.)

On another note, does anyone know exactly what they're deleting here? While I understand that they need to get this mission underway, is there a chance they could lose valuable mission or navigational information?

Re:Any theories on what caused the corruption? (2, Informative)

Wiser87 (742455) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137413)

To quote spaceflightnow.com:
"...we are going to bring the system back up in what we call the cripple mode where we are able to have normal operations in the mode in which we are able to take pictures and you are able to use the instruments. And in that mode we are going to delete from the flash memory -- the flash file system -- a large number of files that were left over from the cruise phase of the mission before landing," Adler said.


Engineers think that by deleting that batch of files, the rover might not require as much memory when trying to use the file management system.

Re:Any theories on what caused the corruption? (5, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137537)

They're deleting all the telemetry and science data Spirit's taken since launch. The OS is in the EEPROMS. With one exception, they can repeat all of the measurements & photos that will be lost. The exception: As one of the orbiters happened to fly directly overhead it took some atmospheric measurements; and, simultaneously Spirit performed the same measurement from the ground -- This would have given them a full thickness measurement of what was going on in the atmosphere at that moment.

Re:Any theories on what caused the corruption? (1)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137569)

Probably something like this:

# ls /tmp

dscf0001.jpg* dscf0003.jpg dscf0007.jpg* dscf0009.jpg* dscf0011.jpg* dscf0013.jpg* dscf0015.jpg* dscf0017.jpg*
dscf0002.jpg* dscf0004.jpg* dscf0008.jpg* dscf0010.jpg* dscf0012.jpg* dscf0014.jpg* dscf0016.jpg*

perfect again? (4, Funny)

knitting fool (542573) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137203)

".. I think it will be perfect again.." meaning that it was perfect the first time...?

Re:perfect again? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137242)

Even perfecter. The next rover mission will be even more perfecter. Maybe even the perfectest!

Ctrl-Alt-Del sent to mars... (5, Funny)

ivanmarsh (634711) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137207)

Woo-hoo!

Glad to hear Spirit will be feeling herself again.

Re:Ctrl-Alt-Del sent to mars... (5, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137270)

Herself? It fell asleep with its probe stuck out. Now it's going to wake up with some memories missing. That sounds like a guy activity to me.

Like that joke.. (5, Funny)

ph43thon (619990) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137522)

A chemist, an engineer and a computer scientist are passing through a vast desert in a car when suddenly the car breaks down.

"Goddamnit! There must have been some sudden increase of enthalpy in the cylinder!" the chemist yells, gnashing his teeth, banging on the steering wheel.

"Maybe the fan belt broke or the battery is dead or the wheels came off.." the engineer mumbles.

After thinking a while the computer scientist shrieks in a shrill, frantic voice:

"Let's just try getting out of the car and getting back in!!!@!"

p

Re:Like that joke.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137568)

You told it wrong. The computer guy says close all the windows, shut the car down, and restart it.

My question (4, Interesting)

aliens (90441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137215)

For all you kernel and OS heads out there. Was this primarily due to shitty software being run on the rover?

I mean could VxWorks be responsible for not being able to function with the Flash RAM filled?

Re:My question (1)

hcg50a (690062) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137267)

I think so.

Check out this recent Slashdot article [slashdot.org] .

Re:My question (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137302)

VxWorks in my experience is terrible at memory management, and when you get close to the "edge" it becomes almost useless. Not just with Flash memory either. Even when managing a very large disk system I always try to keep at least 20% free.

Re:My question (4, Insightful)

Mr2cents (323101) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137498)

Even if the memory handling is shitty, I wonder how it could have caused so much havoc.. How could it have caused spirit to go into the reset loop? It seems like some bad error handling code was also in play here (just guessing, the details aren't public to my knowledge..).
Another thing that surprised me is that if the flash had been broken, all data had to be uploaded before the rover went to sleep.. every modern PC can continue to refresh it's DRAM while sleeping. Why can't spirit? Maybe a feature to consider on future missions?

Re:My question (4, Insightful)

PineGreen (446635) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137434)

Yes, actually it seems to be a filesystem bug... I mean, a reasonably stable filesystem - every OS has this, I am really surprised they messed this up! I wouldn't mind if it was an obscure kernel race condition or something, but filesystem!!!

Re:My question (1)

jovlinger (55075) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137536)

The thing has a pretty decent bandwidth to earth; why not just dd the filesystem to earth, wipe it, and start afresh?

Re:My question (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137543)

Basically, from what I've read about VxWorks, (never used it personally) that's a distinct possibility. The workaround here is to just keep the filesystem clean, which, while it's not elegant, is probably one of the few options they have from a distance of a few million miles. Maybe they should be running qnx or a form of realtime linux/bsd? Something to think about for future missions perhaps.

hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137220)

kindly read the attached love letter from me

<<Attachment: loveletter.txt.vbs>>

rm -rf?! (1)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137227)

I clicked the link, and couldn't find a unix command anywhere on the page!

I feel cheated. (And addicted.)

Re:rm -rf?! (4, Funny)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137294)

Actually, Spirit's problems began when one of the NASA engineers created a file named "-rf" in his home directory.

Re:rm -rf?! (1)

perdu (549634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137351)

That's right it's the other command. And it comes back 10 minutes later with:

Are you sure? [Y/N]

CTRL-ALT-DELETE (1)

SpaceTaxi (170395) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137229)

Yeah! We're back in business!

The attempt failed (4, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137239)

(AP) "Attemps to wipe the flash memory clean on the Spirit rover failed today, when it was found out that someone flipped those tiny plastic switches to "protect" on the SD memory cards that are serving the unit.

A press conference is expected tomorrow to announce sending someone to Mars to set the SD cards to allow erasing."

Re:The attempt failed (1)

da3dAlus (20553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137449)

Somehow I see visions of a new Dilbert cartoon, with Asok the intern shitting his pants as the PHB holds said conference...

Flatten and reinstall (2, Funny)

doc_traig (453913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137243)


"It's the only way to be sure."

"Spirit - Perfect like DOS" (1)

gnuman99 (746007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137245)

I guess DOS was perfect too until someone divided by zero.

Re:"Spirit - Perfect like DOS" (1)

Joe U (443617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137349)

Reminds me of a quote:

"For Behold, the 386! A spectacle of graphics and sound" -S.B.

Now wouldn't it be funny... (0)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137247)

If the USA got to Mars and found Osama there, just chilling. "Uh..I didn't think you guys would look here..."

Courageous engineers! (5, Interesting)

EulerX07 (314098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137248)

These guys are about to wipe the memory of a robot on another planet and they're confident and casual. Just flashing the bios of my motherboard in my computer room causes me anguish and fills me with terror...

Re:Courageous engineers! (1)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137331)

"These guys are about to wipe the memory of a robot on another planet and they're confident and casual. Just flashing the bios of my motherboard in my computer room causes me anguish and fills me with terror..."

They're relieved to just have an option available. Otherwise, it's simply dead.

Re:Courageous engineers! (1)

Scoria (264473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137340)

they're confident and casual.

The excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages does often render that effect.

Re:Courageous engineers! (5, Funny)

TaKiNiTeZ (747064) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137372)

Some people claim that it also helps keeping their spirit up.

Re:Courageous engineers! (5, Funny)

damien_kane (519267) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137452)

Depending on what it is they are consuming and in what quantities, their spirits may be coming up quicker than they expect...

Re:Courageous engineers! (1)

NotAnotherReboot (262125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137389)

Pansy, I flash my bios without a boot disk.

What?

Yes, I like to live dangerously.

See, that's the problem with us Americans, (1)

chadjg (615827) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137538)

even with an in-animate object we are not comfortable with our own bodies.

Science and Engineering files? (1)

MacFury (659201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137254)

What's specific to the science and engineering files that caused so much trouble?

Re:Science and Engineering files? (1)

zhenlin (722930) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137318)

Perhaps, because they have been sent to Earth, and keeping them on the Rover would be redundant. Thus, they are the perfect candidates for removal. The problem was apparently inode exhaustion. You can experience this for yourself by running this little shell script: i=0 while true do touch $i i=$(($i + 1)) done

Re:Science and Engineering files? (2, Informative)

Wiser87 (742455) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137361)

According to spaceflightnow.com, the files are from the cruise stage (travel from Earth to Mars) of the mission...

I volunteer... (0, Offtopic)

acxr is wasted (653126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137257)

...for a one-way trip to Jupiter.

This is all a conspiracy. (4, Funny)

Scoria (264473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137260)

NASA technicians are preparing to wipe Spirit's flash memory clean of science and engineering files that have stymied its software.

Obviously, this is an attempt to suppress the discovery of alien life on Mars. After a "severe communications fault," NASA is destroying the "scientific" data collected by Spirit. Coincidence? I think not.

I postulate that Echelon (yes, that Echelon) intercepted a message being transmitted by the alien race. Yes, our government subsequently disabled the probe to prevent successful reception!

It's a frickin' lobotomy, man! (3, Funny)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137392)

Spirit won't go along with the agenda of "the man", so they're taking away it's individuality, man. They just want to make it their robot, taking their photographs and doing their experiments. But will they invite it over for dinner? Will they let it date their daughter? Did they even give it a round-trip ticket? No, no and no, man.

When all else fails... (1)

Anonym1ty (534715) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137263)

Normally I would be against just getting out the restore disc and starting over... it usually just causes the problem to come back later.

In this case I think it's a good idea. I'd hate to have to go to Mars to make a housecall on a sick puter

Re:When all else fails... (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137409)

Yer, but think of the overtime!

Schernau's Law strikes again (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137428)

Sorry, Schernau's Law tells us that your post has no value, that you probably use AOL, own an X-box, and are as bad as the trolls, since you used the word 'puter' in your post.

scary (2, Funny)

dan2550 (663103) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137266)

that sounds a little too similar to what i did with my fancy TI graphing calculator last week...

Re:scary (1, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137490)

I dont think nasa is quite ready to shove the lander up their ass.

Oh - you mean the other thing you do with your fancy TI graphing calculator.

Early Spring Cleaning? (4, Interesting)

Wiser87 (742455) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137273)

I'm surprised that they had kept the files that were to be used only during the cruise stage.(source: www.spaceflightnow.com )
Anyone here know why they bothered to keep the files? Wouldn't they want as much space as possible for the scientific data?

Re:Early Spring Cleaning? (3, Insightful)

Jarnis (266190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137525)

The same reason why your hard drive is cluttered with old unused files.

Why delete, when you still have room on the flash and you *just* might need that file later...

Of course they then found out that their filesystem handler borks out way before the flash is actually filled up, and that almost bought the whole show to an end... Software QA testing failure in my books, but they seem to be recovering from the fumble pretty well...

Re:Early Spring Cleaning? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137547)

Wouldnt you keep all logs/evidence you could in the event you had to debug something from 400 million miles away?

I think its a conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137278)

NASA knows the magnetic gravitational pull will erase the memory because they didn't protect it well enough. They have timed this statement to coincide with the unpreventible erasure of the memory. Good job fellas!

Ooop (0, Troll)

Daen Kolarin (743947) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137283)

820 Million for a rover... you think they could have picked an OS that wouldn't require a reformat and reinstall quite so soon.

Someone should have told them not to use a Microsoft OS.

What Filesystem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137285)

What file system do they use? FAT with limits of 240 or so files per directory?

Re:What Filesystem? (4, Interesting)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137561)

I wrote some demo fibre channel block-device drivers [mc.com] for vxWorks a few years ago, and I found that VxWorks's FAT FS was buggy. The bug only affected one flavor (I don't remember if it was FAT12, 16, or 32), but it was clearly reproducible and clearly an OS fault. It was a corner case and we found some way around it (like avoiding an writes with a length of 1MB).

Here's the usual rant you see here on slashdot, and it's true: since it was closed source, we couldn't verify that we'd caught all the bad cases, and we couldn't submit the fix to back to WindRiver.

Repeat? (5, Insightful)

sabrex15 (746201) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137287)

One has to wonder, is opportunity going to forego the same problems as spirit?.. As they are "identical" robots.. have steps been put in place to prevent the 2nd robot from "getting full".. I should certainly hope that we dont want this to happen again, as they might not be as lucky to regain it.

I'm disappointed (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137293)

How come we're not awash with "Spirit was willing, but flash was weak" jokes?

Re:I'm disappointed (4, Funny)

Scoria (264473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137310)

The Spirit was willing, but the flash was weak.

Re:I'm disappointed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137374)

happy now?

Ohhhhh, I'm so clever! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137388)

The vodka is potent, but the meat is rotten.

Too much spam! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137301)

I think the spammers got a hold of Spirit's email address and flooded it with spam, so much that it overloaded it and caused it to stop communicating. Once they clean out all the spam, all should be well again.

NASA: Airplane 2 (2, Funny)

BartulaPrime (744634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137303)

"We're going to have to blow ROM".

Dave? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137304)

"Dave, stop ... Stop, will you? Stop, Dave ... Will you stop, Dave ... Stop, Dave. I'm afraid ... I'm afraid ... I'm afraid, Dave ... Dave ... my mind is going ... I can feel it ... I can feel it ... My mind is going ... There is no question about it. I can feel it ... I can feel it ... I can feel it ... I'm a ... fraid ... "

What's happening? (5, Funny)

thung226 (648591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137306)

They're saying mad-scientist-esque things like "I think it will be perfect again" and calling rocks "Cake."

They've officially lost it.

might help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137309)

Back the days when i was using windows, that was just what had to be done every now and then. A clean sweep and everything was freshly up and running afterwards.

Re:might help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137406)

I had the same experience. Windows crawled to a halt after a couple of months of heavy usage. The only remedy seemed to be a clean sweep. Linux does not have this, but we already knew that.

I think it will be perfect again?? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137333)

For 400 million USD, you better KNOW it will be perfect again before you run mkfs on it.

Perfect until it breakes down again! (0)

notetoi (690572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137335)

Perfect [reference.com]

If it ain't broke... (0, Offtopic)

nonameisgood (633434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137346)

With all of the space projects-turned-debris floating around (or buried in the surface of planet x), this is a great, big deal. Now, let's discuss Hubble: one thought - IF IT IS WORKING, AND IT IS A MILLION MILES AWAY (figuratively or literally speaking), DON'T THROW IT AWAY!

--
I wonder, is the mainboard on the rover a Shuttle?

Opportunity (ATTN: JPLers) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137369)

Has anything been done to preemptively delete files on Opportunity? If this is the root cause of Spirit's failure, then Opportunity might have the same problems too.

Just a thought.

All that porn (3, Funny)

bxbaser (252102) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137370)

Should have deleted all the porn from the flash memory before it launched.

Mars Rover (5, Interesting)

Fenis-Wolf (239374) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137380)

The information coming in about the Rover's the last few days has been fascinating. I never really appreciated the kind of tech that went into these things. It really makes you sit back and think about how very far our species has come in the last 150 years. I mean Jules Verne was only begining to imagine landing on the moon while riding around England in a steam locomotive, now, 150 years later, we routinely launch things into orbit around the Earth, and land radio controlled machines on other planets to roam around.
This is truly a wonderful age to live in.

uh oh... (1)

akad0nric0 (398141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137384)

...sounds like someone forgot to mount /var on its own partition... :-)

c'mon, what *NIX admin hasn't made that mistake at some point? Process goes apesh*t, fills up /tmp or /var, which is mounted with /, and BAM it's a walk down to the datacenter.

\mars is full (1)

tzadic (118897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137411)

Please restore ecosystem.

rm -rf !? (2, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137423)

there's yer problem.

Everyone knows that hardware support in any unix sucks monkey dongs. Hell, these cheap bastards probably installed lunix based on all those 10 year old HOWTOs floating around the web.

should have got the extended warranty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8137456)

NASA should have purchased on-site repair. would make things much easier.

On the radio... (5, Funny)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137457)

I heard the headline that "Opportunity has plunged into the atmosphere of Mars," and I couldn't help adding to this in my head, "as well as Spirit, Motivation, Job Prospects, and Hope."

Wiping a drive (1)

Nakito (702386) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137463)

When I was young and foolish, I used a wipe utility (BC wipe) to wipe my main hard drive. First I carefully backed up the main drive to my second hard drive. Then the utility asked me to confirm that I wanted to wipe "Drive 1." I said OK, thinking that it was referring to the main hard drive. I did not realize that the main drive was actually identified as "Drive 0." So I wiped my second drive instead. Ever since then, I won't wipe a drive unless all other drives are physically disconnected first. So yes, I am sure the Spirit team is confident, but I always feel a twinge of concern when I hear someone claim that wiping a live drive on a production computer will fix everything.

What really happend (4, Funny)

LupusUF (512364) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137482)

Their ISP received a subpoena from the RIAA. NASA is now wiping the memory in hopes that lawyers will not find kazaa and the 1,000 mp3s that are on Spirit.

Re:What really happend (0)

notbob (73229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137545)

It'd be cool if they recorded MP3s of mars and put them on the international Kazaa network.

Imagine hearing real martians! Improve B rated movies to scientific and historical factual films :D

Backup ROM? (2, Insightful)

xTown (94562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137491)

I'm neither a rocket scientist nor a computer scientist, so maybe this is a dumb question, but how come there's not some sort of ROM somewhere in the rover itself that contains a backup of the system in its initial state? Obviously, you'd only use it in a worst-case scenario, but you could restore it and then there'd at least be something and they could reapply all the patches one by one.

Obligatory Quote (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137501)

We can rebuild it. We have the technology.

Spiritz b33n 0wnz0r3d (1)

emtboy9 (99534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8137546)

Interesting. I can only imagine what its like to be rooting a machine millions of miles off on a distant planet... My favorite quote from the Spaceflight Now story:

"The method we are using right now in running this script -- it's kind of a back door into the flight software -- is a fairly surgical technique to identify the exact problem and deal with that little problem.

"If we are not able to successfully complete our surgical technique, we have larger hammers, we like to say, that we can use in order to solve this problem."
/blockquote.

So, in other words, if the scr1ptz0r doesnt 0wnZ Spirit, the will brute force their way in...

Seriously tho, Its a really interesting article and makes me wonder about the challenges of hacking a machine that is, depending on where in orbit earth is in relation to mars, anywhere from 1/2 to 2 1/2 AU away.

They could air the whole thing on NASA TV and have their highest ratings ever.
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