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Suppose you were developing software that would run about 50 to 60 operational tasks simultaneously, including the management of multiple mechanical and digital devices. That'd be reasonably complex. Now consider that any time a task stumbled, the software would have to correct itself. That would mean thinking ahead for every possible contingency that could affect all running tasks and designing in self-healing capabilities. That's much more complex.

And by the way, your application will be running on Mars, so on-site service is going to be a bit of a problem.

That's the situation the app dev team for the Phoenix Mars Lander project faced when creating the application set for the spacecraft's mission. And they succeeded in every way.

In case you missed it, over the Memorial Day weekend, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab engineers and scientists celebrated the soft touchdown of Phoenix on the Red Planet after its 422 million-mile journey. Such landings used to be the norm, but after the Viking 2 Mars landing in 1976, NASA settled craft on our planetary neighbor using airbags, which let a lander roll to a stop. Airbags are less complex and cheaper than soft landings, but they're far less precise in putting your payload where you want it.



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http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;707573802;fp;16;fpid;1




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