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The 100-Million Mile Network

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the long-ping-times dept.

Space 160

mykepredko writes "eWeek has an article on the network and radio topography of the two Mars rovers and how they communicate with satellites in Mars' orbit as well as the Earth. The article ends by giving four rules for maintaining a space network, a) Automate processes, b) Bulletproof your gear, c) Be persistent and d) Simulate potential problems, which are probably good rules for any network."

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e.) ... (4, Funny)

jwthompson2 (749521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241394)

NEVER! BUT NEVER! Install Windows unless you want openly relayed spam from space!

Re:e.) ... (0)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241412)

Wow... you got modded Funny before I even saw the second post!!!

Re:e.) ... (0)

jwthompson2 (749521) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241432)

I was amazed myself...moderators really do lurk as much as I do....

Distrubing! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241642)

I find it distrubing that people are tortured in a televison series 24 - season 2.

This is not a decent thing to show on TV. Only our friends and allies in the war against terror should embark on nasty business like this (and then even without our consent and knowledge"!)

Re:e.) ... (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242289)

"NEVER! BUT NEVER! Install Windows unless you want openly relayed spam from space!"

They're using our own satellites against us!

Frist Prost! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241400)

Frist Prost! God, aren't I annoying!

Re:Frist Prost! (-1, Offtopic)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241474)

You're supposed to be leading the Senate Republicans or something. Get back to work.

DEAN IS THE NEW GOATSE (-1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241476)

BY WHICH, I MEAN A GIANTIC FAILED ASSHOLE

yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggg gg gggggg

DEAN MAKES ME LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH AND LAUGH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241575)

yyyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr r!!

shiver me timbers, I think I lost the election!

what a colossal dumbass. Thank God we weeded him out this early on.

Rule Z: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241405)

Never have a public webpage that can be linked to from Slashdot.

Re:Rule Z: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241698)

The latency is so bad, if you use port knocking and got the sequence wrong you'd be waiting days before you could try again!

And to make a cake... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241407)

you need eggs, flour, butter, suggar...

XBox rules!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241409)

first post!!! you lame assholes... I can post first because my XBox is a american product and my pride in my great country and my great XBox accelerate everything...

If only they would make games for that bitch... IAve played Metroid Prime and it ruled... I hope M$ will buy those japanese bastards and port Metroid to my great american console system!!!

Re:XBox rules!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241515)

Guess your great american product sucked on first posting... maybe it's because it is an american product...

Re:XBox rules!!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8242242)

And where do you think that american product was built? Not in america for damn sure. Americans don't make anything anymore. Nothing worth buying anyways.

Good tips (5, Funny)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241410)

b) Bulletproof your gear

I'd think micrometeorite-proofing my gear would be more useful.

Yeah right (5, Funny)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241414)

I didn't RTFA, but it sounds like they're just running ethernet cables (or OC12 or whatever) to Mars. Didn't they stop to think that the planets move? Ridiculous! The ESA and NASA really need to get their acts together.

Re:Yeah right (4, Funny)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241438)

You've never heard of bungee earthernet? It's the new standard.

Re:Yeah right (4, Funny)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241514)

Could they make that space elevator on top of that? That would be useful, just don't get out on the floor expecting "ladies' lingerie" when its actually "hard, lung popping vacuum and solar radiation".

Re:Yeah right (1)

msoftsucks (604691) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241681)

Actually its called the Pigeon protocol!

http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc1149.txt [ietf.org]

Re:Yeah right (1)

Gherald (682277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241754)

What does rfc1149 have to do with Interplanetary Ethernet, pray tell?

Re:Yeah right (1)

Angry_Admin (685125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241484)

By golly you're right!
But maybe, when the planets rotate, it will pull Mars closer to the Earth? Then it wouldn't be so difficult to send probes there?
But how would they keep the planets from colliding? Would you want to be the person to cut insanely high tension lan cables? ;)

Re:Yeah right (1)

MrDigital (741552) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241488)

I heard it was 802.11b. You can get pretty good point to point distances in the vacuum of space.

Re:Yeah right (1)

ArsSineArtificio (150115) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242230)

I didn't RTFA, but it sounds like they're just running ethernet cables (or OC12 or whatever) to Mars. Didn't they stop to think that the planets move?

You idiot. Michelson and Morley [virginia.edu] proved that Ethernet is useless.

They teach parenting too... (4, Funny)

Beolach (518512) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241418)

Replace 'spacecraft' with 'child'...

"The most difficult thing is to know how to talk to the spacecraft when you're getting no response from it," says Douglas J. Mudgway

wow thanks (5, Funny)

Brahmastra (685988) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241429)

The article ends by giving four rules for maintaining a space network, a) Automate processes, b) Bulletproof your gear, c) Be persistent and d) Simulate potential problems, which are probably good rules for any network."
I'm going to try this out on my space network immediately

Re:wow thanks (3, Insightful)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241549)

Bulletproof your gear... I was thinking that was a literal understatement :) After all Getting hit bya piece of anything at over 16,000 miles a huor + you should be alot more protetected than just Bullet proof.

is that still considered WAN? (5, Funny)

Munden (681257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241430)

MWAN - Multi-World Area Network i guess....

Re:is that still considered WAN? (2, Funny)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241787)

Well, "Area" really only applies to the surface of the Earth, so more likely it would be the IPSN - Inter Planetary Spacial Network. But how usefull can this really be? I mean Instant Messaging would be impossible. It would have to be renamed to Huge Lag Messaging.

Which OS? (1)

noaudience (751170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241437)

Does anyone know which OS these things run? I heard that NASA really want 386 processors?

Does this mean they run on Windows? That must SUCK.

Re:Which OS? (1)

kc0re (739168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241524)

Read somewhere that they run Java over top of Linux.

Re:Which OS? (1)

Deraj DeZine (726641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241716)

No, you're all wrong. It runs on a Phantom gaming console. The exact processor of the Phantom is debatable, but at least it will run Duke Nukem Forever.

Re:Which OS? (3, Informative)

Angry_Admin (685125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241589)

Apparently, they run VxWorks [windriver.com]

Re:Which OS? (5, Informative)

heptapod (243146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241639)

They're using RAD6000 processors [baesystems.com] which are modified chips used to run old Macs [apple.com] from the early nineties. Each rover has 384 megabytes of RAM, the extra 256 is for images.
The operating system is VxWorks [windriver.com] .

Re:Which OS? (5, Informative)

Morologous (201459) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241743)

Not to nitpick but,

<nitpick>
The RAD6000 is a radiation hardened RS/6000 PowerPC chip from IBM. A similar chip was used in Apple Macintoshes, but Apple is not the source of the RAD6000 chip.
</nitpick>

I love my Mac as much as everybody else, but it's just not the case that the RAD6000 is a 'mac' chip. It's an IBM chip, a cousin of those used in macs.

Re:Which OS? (0, Troll)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241756)

Taken from your website: "HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request Server: Microsoft-IIS/4.0 Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 21:02:32 GMT Content-Type: text/html Content-Length: 87" Does this mean your website runs on Windows? That must SUCK. (ps- Your thinkning of the Apollo missions, they used 386 chips, and no, they did not use microsoft products..)

Re:Which OS? (1)

MissP (728641) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242051)

Oh for goodness sake! The Apollo missions were over long before there was a 386. Geez.

b) Bulletproof your gear (4, Funny)

DanThe1Man (46872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241439)

b) Bulletproof your gear

For what? Those pesky Martians?

Re:b) Bulletproof your gear (1)

Lord Graga (696091) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241472)

No, silly. There's no pesky martians on mars, only some gunturrets who are Linux-based.
SCO sued mars because it used their code to control the turrets ;P

Re:b) Bulletproof your gear (5, Funny)

chiph (523845) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241509)

Haven't you heard?

Martians in pickup trucks drive around the surface of the planet, shooting at any Earth landers they see.

Where do you think we got the term "Redneck" from?

Chip H.

Re:b) Bulletproof your gear (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241663)

Just watch out for those space modulators.

That rules out Linksys (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241443)

If only the Beagle 2 people had seen this article beforehand.

In summary... (5, Funny)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241447)

To enact all four rules at once, do the following.

Persistantly empty clip after clip of rounds from an automatic rifle at your prototype. If it survives, begin production.

Persistency (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241468)

Persistency is not as important on an earth-bound LAN. Most of the time, bringing it back up is not an issue of "try, try again", but of just doing it right in the first place.

This doesnt exlpain how.... (4, Funny)

butane_bob2003 (632007) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241477)

...Starfleet can communicate over extremely long distances with out an lag. Apparently, the lag is encountered occasionally when it is necessary to fill plot holes. But otherwise, not at all. The laws governing subspace communication elude me.

Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241600)

They've claimed that subspace communication travels at very close to the maximum warp possible (something like warp 9.999999), much faster than the ships, in part due to the fact it's pure energy, and in part due to amplifiers they place throughout the galaxy. This explains why when they're in less charted space, the signals sometimes take longer.

Re:Explanation (3, Funny)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241747)

That's not maximum warp. I clearly remember Riker giving the order to go to Warp 13 in that episode when Picard was all old and shit and Geordi had his eyes fixed. I think it was called "The Ship That Couldn't Slow Down."

Re:Explanation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8242009)

That was a different warp scale, apparantly they changed it sometime after the TNG timeline, to account for faster ships. The old warp scale was some kind of logarithmic scale, with warp 10 as infinite speed. This led to faster ships reaching warp 9.9, 9.99, 9.99999, etc. The new scale was used to stretch out the range a bit.

God i feel like a geek.

Re:Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8242040)

That's right, I remember the same thing.

ping timeout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241478)

"The most difficult thing is to know how to talk to the spacecraft when you're getting no response from it," says Douglas J. Mudgway

no response as in ping timeout? dude, if your're ping'ing something on mars use ping -t infinity

IP's? (0)

kc0re (739168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241489)

What are the IP's for the Mars Rover? I have some Microsoft Mars Simulator (c) driving to do...

Redneck Solution (1)

qw(name) (718245) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241494)


Just a few peices of bailin' war oughta do it...

They left one out. (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241497)

e) submit your URL to /. and start up the benchmark server.

Makinig seem harder than it really is (5, Funny)

slashname3 (739398) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241498)

They are just perpetuating the myth that the rovers are really on mars. Everyone knows that it is all done in a Hollywood sound stage. The problem a few weeks ago with the the first rover was traced to someone using the mircowave oven and causing interference with their radios on the set. Anyone want another burrito heated up?

Doh (3, Funny)

TechnologyX (743745) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241507)

Here I thought they just had a reeeeeeally long cable.

priorities... (5, Funny)

chow_mein (750728) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241512)

and I can't even get a cable/DSL modem yet!!! new slogan... Earth First, We'll Network the Other Planets Later

Re:priorities... (1, Funny)

kc0re (739168) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241554)

Hows that "I live in the middle of Africa and my internet connection is over a single strand of copper" thing working for you?

Re:priorities... (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242216)

In the spirit of Earth First! Enjoy! [yimg.com]

Unless . . . (4, Funny)

GoodNicsTken (688415) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241543)

"The orbiter then uses its more-powerful antenna to send as many as one million bits of data per second back to Earth. While fairly fast for an attenuated radio connection, that's only about a tenth of the speed of a cable-modem connection for the average home-computer user." Unless they are using Commcast, such high bandwidth usage would violate the vauge acceptable use policy, putting the rover in the top 10% of Mars bandwidth users. Ah, maybe that's what happened. NASA ignored the first warning letter, and got cut off.

Re:Unless . . . (2, Informative)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241809)

Well, actually it's right, and it implies that the average house internet connection is 1.0mbps.

Do the math...
1000000 bits / 8 = 125000 bytes/s 125000 bytes / 1024 = 122.0703125 kb/s 122.0703125 / 1024 = 0.1192092mb/s That means it's a 0.1192092mb/s line to mars, and probably with brutal latency. Let's just hope that they're not serving up warez from it...or that slashdot doesn't link to a webserver hosted on it...

Better network technology (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241546)

It appears that one of the direct results of NASA research will be better networks, both on Earth and elsewhere. Just about anything and everything applied to a deep space network can be applied right here at home. I'm also wondering about wireless network tech resulting from all of this.

Use OLD technology (4, Insightful)

NineNine (235196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241551)

The article seemed to fail to point out that these things are using OLD technologies... UFH? Jesus, that's been around for ages. Their basic data transmission seems to be just that... basic. . No bells and whistles. No wireless garbage. Not super fast. I see failures when people use cutting edge stuff. My business computers need to be ROCK SOLID. I don't use wireless. My hardware uses serial and parallel ports instead of USB/firewire/whatever. I use W2K as a platform. I use an external modem through a parallel port for important credit card stuff.

I use what has worked reliably for years and years. I'm not gonna risk my business being down because of some stupid gee-whiz technology that's only been out for a few years. Engineers that build solid, reliable, critical systems (financial, medical, avionics) do the same thing.

Re:Use OLD technology (2, Funny)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241610)

Type UFH into Google. It says what I was going to say, right at the top.

Re:Use OLD technology (1)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241707)

No, I believe he's talking about the Ultra-light Field Howitzer [acronymfinder.com] . Or uh.. yeah.. probably the first one.

Re:Use OLD technology (5, Funny)

dsci (658278) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241780)

I use W2K as a platform.

I use what has worked reliably for years and years.


Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

Re:Use OLD technology (1)

petabyte (238821) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241815)

Hmm, interesting. I help run our business on the technologies that do the job best at the time we're buying. We have 802.11b connecting the machines around facility. As they are all Apple, I have not seen a serial or parallel port in some time. USB works quite well for our tasks. I use OSX a a platform. I use an external cable modem through a business class router for all data.

As long as one avoids the bleeding edge, I don't think there is any reason to not take advantage of technologies as they come out. Then again, if it is not broken, don't fix it. I guess it depends on your upgrade schedule - We just finished ours.

Do you mean a serial modem? I haven't seen a parallel port modem in ages ... :)

Re:Use OLD technology (5, Informative)

nick0909 (721613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242156)

UHF is not that old... most public service (save the boomtowns like LA and NYC) are still on VHF-lo/hi. My county fire (in CA) does digital telemtry over a 159mhz (VHF) freq to track all the apparatuses around the county. With the low bandwidth allowed and general problems that come with VHF, it is a fight. A good thing about UHF is its relative line of sight path while still penetrating/bending around slight obstructions and keeping a good digital signal. Higher frequency signals coming from an omni-directional antenna would die out pretty quick if anything more than dust was in the way. To get around really big obstructions lowband is the way to go... there is a reason CA Dept. of Forrestry and CA Highway Patrol still maintain their 30mhz radio nets around the state. But to go digital you need clean signals, so 800+mhz is the way to go there. What, you want both? Oh, UHF-T band then, 400mhz. Enjoy.

Re:Use OLD technology (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8242204)

UHF? Old technology (as opposed to "new whiz-bang technology"? Yeah.
So check it, I'm using OLD, super reliable technology... it's called "copper". Yeah, everyone seems to miss the fact that I'm using OLD technology, this copper stuff has been around FOREVER. Why golly jee, I'm using several twisted wires of this stuff inside a plastic sheath to transmit my slashdot posts over old reliable printed circuit boards into something that uses LIGHT, a REALLY old technology, to transmit my slashdot post over another PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD (note: old technology) until it finally reaches the server!

Broadband (0, Redundant)

Valegor (693552) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241559)

We can comunicate with a rover on the surface of Mars, but I still can't get broadband at my house. Well technically just about anyone could get satalite, but it is not adequite for games.

comparison to cable modem speed? (2, Funny)

egomaniac (105476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241579)

The orbiter then uses its more-powerful antenna to send as many as one million bits of data per second back to Earth. While fairly fast for an attenuated radio connection, that's only about a tenth of the speed of a cable-modem connection for the average home-computer user.

Uhhh ... did I miss something? My DSL line peaks at 1.5Mb on a good day. Where can I get a ten-megabit cable modem? And "average home-computer users" have them? I thought average home-computer users were still using 56K modems.

Oh, I get it now. According to this calendar, it's 2008. Damn, that was a nice nap. Need to catch up on the last four years of news. Hope something horrible happened to Microsoft.

What? SCOSoft? Oh, shit.

Re:comparison to cable modem speed? (1)

cjpez (148000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241827)

Uhhh ... did I miss something? My DSL line peaks at 1.5Mb on a good day. Where can I get a ten-megabit cable modem? And "average home-computer users" have them? I thought average home-computer users were still using 56K modems.
Yeah, no doubt, I was wondering that myself. My cable line used to get about 3mbit, which was nice, but that's not not the speeds they were talking about.

Re:comparison to cable modem speed? (1)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241885)

optimumonline is 10M down 1M up, but I don't know of any other cable providers that speed.

Re:comparison to cable modem speed? (1)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242129)

Well, actually it's right, and it implies that the average house internet connection is 1.0mbps. Do the math... 1000000 bits / 8 = 125000 bytes/s 125000 bytes / 1024 = 122.0703125 kb/s 122.0703125 / 1024 = 0.1192092mb/s That means it's a 0.1192092mb/s line to mars, and probably with brutal latency. Let's just hope that they're not serving up warez from it...or that slashdot doesn't link to a webserver hosted on it...

Why not repeaters? (2, Interesting)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241584)

Look, when we get to the other side of the sun, we're not going to get very good communications between here and there. Isn't there some way to place some sort of sattelite in solar orbit to act as a repeater network, or for that matter, is there some really good reason why we can't do this?

Considering how enthralled we are about seeing Mars up close and personal now, I'd think this would be a Really Good Idea.

Re:Why not repeaters? (1, Informative)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241646)

A satellite that could bounce signals to the far side of the sun at Mars orbit would have to be much bigger than the International Space Station, be somewhere in the orbit of Jupiter and have enough fuel to reposition itself hundreds of millions of miles for several years to be economically viable.

Re:Why not repeaters? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241779)

be somewhere in the orbit of Jupiter

Couldn't it just be located at earth's L4 or L5 Lagrange point around the sun. It would need to expend little or no station-keeping effort and would always have line of sight both to earth and the backside of the sun (from earth's perspective). Also, why would it need a transmitter stronger than those on the various other orbiters that already transmit and receive signals across the solar system.

Re:Why not repeaters? (1)

PhuCknuT (1703) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241921)

It wouldn't, that guy is retarded. We could put a satelite in either l4 or l5 and it would do the job nicely, we just don't have a need for it yet, so why would we?

The router analogy (5, Insightful)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241585)

I think that Spirit should be considered a big win for NASA. They patched a software bug on a platform that had corrupted flash, basically having to reinstall portions of operating code.
Something about the repairing a 747 while it is in flight analogy.
It may not be as dramatic as the rescue of Apollo 13, but they should be commended for well though out design principles, instead of just taking cheap shots at them when something fails as most people are wont to do.

Re:The router analogy (3, Insightful)

BookRead (610258) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241765)

Yes, indeed. I was struck at how similiar to a garden-variety remote system administration problem it was and how well they had designed the rover and planned its fallbacks to solve it. Very, very nicely done NASA. I'm beginning to believe the robot guys can do it better than the human spaceflight guys. I'm also hoping it trickles down to the hardware we have to manage everyday.

Just wait till spam starts to relay from Mars (4, Funny)

gumbysworld (470849) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241594)

Just wait till spam starts to relay from Mars

Them crafty spamers have spoofed every other network. Just wait till the IP trace routes through Mars.

Martian Viagra pills 25% off
Order now and save on shipping.

Hack Attack? (1)

nule.org (591224) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241613)

Thinking of the NASA DSN as a LAN type network like I'm used to, makes me wonder if they take into account someone attacking it. How hard would it be for someone to broadcast messages to reach and try to take over the rovers? Something tells me that the communications aren't encrypted or authenticated. Are the frequencies and protocols publically available?

If someone did manage to DoS or somehow log in to the rover and damage the software it could be the most damaging single-target attack (dollar wise - at over $400 million per rover) of all time. I think that's kind of scary.

Re:Hack Attack? (2, Interesting)

Graelin (309958) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241690)

Something tells me that the communications aren't encrypted or authenticated.

Your last paragraph should tell you otherwise.

If someone did manage to DoS or somehow log in to the rover and damage the software it could be the most damaging single-target attack (dollar wise - at over $400 million per rover) of all time. I think that's kind of scary.

Maybe it should just be 3 rules... (5, Funny)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241631)

c) Be persistent

Do they really need that in the handbook? What did they use to do when they had a problem?

Engineer 1: "Shit Fred, I can't ping it."
Engineer 2: "Oh well, cest la vie. You wanna grab a beer?"

Re:Maybe it should just be 3 rules... (2, Interesting)

thebatlab (468898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241680)

Good stuff :) And true enough. But basically all four of the rules are pretty straight forward and don't have to be said. The problem is in an organization like that, they have to be said. Otherwise there's no accountability. If something goes wrong and they did no simulations then they can just say "Well, we never had that in our guidelines so we didn't do it". With it written down, now there is a accountability.

Re:Maybe it should just be 3 rules... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8241708)

I know Fred personally and he would never say that. You're a fucking liar.

Re:Maybe it should just be 3 rules... (1)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241789)

Oh well, cest la vie. You wanna grab a beer?

From TFA: (1)

hehman (448117) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242205)

Automate processes.
Encode many operations in a remote device, so it can solve its own problems.

Bulletproof your gear.
Refine systems under your direct control, like Deep Space Network antennas, to make sure they aren't the cause of an outage.

Be persistent.
Analyze any shred of communication. Build theories. Exploit small wins.

Simulate potential problems.
Test theories on duplicate devices, under your control, even if conditions aren't alike.

It's much easier to grab a beer than to spend a few more hours figuring out yet another theory on why the rover talking.

Deep Space Network (DSN) - More Info (3, Informative)

dekashizl (663505) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241702)

More info on communications between Mars/Earth and the DSN (Deep Space Network):
- NASA's MER2004 Communications with Earth Overview [nasa.gov]
- DSN (Deep Space Network) Main Page [nasa.gov]
- Wikipedia entry on Deep Space Network [wikipedia.org]

--
For news, status, updates, scientific info, images, video, and more, check out:
(AXCH) 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers - News, Status, Technical Info, History [axonchisel.net] .

.22's won't piece IBM XT's (5, Funny)

DR SoB (749180) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241713)

Bulletproofing your gear is extremely important. The old IBM XT's were up for that, I took one camping once (just the case and CPU) and we set up it and took shot's at it with .22's. Only 1 shot pierced the 1/4 inch thick steel case, and the only actual damage done was a really noisy fan afterwards. Think martians have more firepower then .22's, though? d'oh!

Wires (-1, Offtopic)

sedition (662413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241720)

Has anyone wondered how many miles of cables power the entire internet?

That's what I thought when I first read the headline..

Re:Wires (1)

sik0fewl (561285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241820)

No.

yeah.. (-1, Troll)

odyrithm (461343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241729)

Bulletproof your gear

Just be aware bullets will fscker your networker.

Don't forget! (-1, Offtopic)

wilderg (257726) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241736)

e) ????
f) Profit!!!

Bulletproofing? (4, Funny)

hesiod (111176) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241751)

To hell with bulletproofing, that's only useful on Earth. If they make it ASTEROID-PROOF... now THAT would be impressive.

DSN (4, Informative)

Malk-a-mite (134774) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241802)

Deep Space Network website:
http://deepspace.jpl.nasa.gov/dsn/ [nasa.gov]

Not very detailed but a nice overview of the setup.

is it me... (3, Interesting)

ricochet81 (707864) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241863)

or did they not talk much about space networking? I want to know what protocols they use, how data is buffered on the sats orbiting mars, etc. Where are the technical details?

Channel 25? (5, Funny)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241868)

The rover-to-orbiter link uses UHF radio-the same basic technology used for broadcasting channels 14 and higher to television sets in the United States

Clearly, Mars Channel 25 caused the original Spirit communication breakdown by interrupting it with an episode of Days of our red, dreary lives.

Testing possible failures... (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 10 years ago | (#8241999)

As Murphy and others have pointed out, it's the flaw you don't test for that gets you every time. There are an infinite number of things that can go wrong, and a finite number of things you can test. The idea that you could somehow plan for every contingency is what stops many a promising project.

They missed a few... (2, Funny)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242195)

Rules for maintining a space network:
a) Automate processes
b) Bulletproof your gear
c) Be persistent
d) Simulate potential problems
e) Don't crash into the damn planet
f) Don't confuse feet and meters
g) Don't "misplace" quarter-billion dollar probes
h) Don't let probes explode because you left out the fuel-check valve
i) Don't press the big red shiny button (Narf!)
j) ???
k) PROFIT!

-

Comm Gaps? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 10 years ago | (#8242213)

I notice that in some navigation images [nasa.gov] there appear to be gaps with empty or scrambled data. I wonder if this is communications problems, or perhaps other kinds of data that trumps image data temporarily.
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