Mars Probe Running Windows 98 OS Receives Software Update

Yay! Windows 98 lives in space. Mars probe running windows 98 OS receives software update after two decades without an update.

Mars Probe Running Windows 98 OS Receives Software Update

Mars Probe Running Windows 98 OS Receives Software Update

Patch management for the latest versions of Windows might be the major concern of most of us here on Earth. But meanwhile, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express spacecraft finally has received the first update to its Window 98-based system, which is the first in 19 years.

The mission was initially launched to discover of signs of liquid water on Mars. And this is including a suspected 20x30km lake of salty water that is buried under 1.5 km of ice in the southern polar region of the planet.

The updates were conducted by engineers from the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF), Italy, and it was fully funded by the Italian Space Agency (ASI).

What This Means

According to the agency, the upgrade will allow the spacecraft to view mars and also its moon photos with great level of details.

The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument on Mars Express sends low-frequency radio waves down in the direction of the planet making use of its 40-meter-long antenna.

Generally, most of these waves are reflected from the surface of the planet. But, however, significant amounts travel through the crust and are then reflected at boundaries just between layers of several different materials below the surface, and this is including ice, soil, rock, and even water.

By taking a look at the reflected signals, scientists can easily map out the structure below the surface of Mars to a depth of a few kilometers and then study other properties such as the thickness and composition of its polar ice caps and the properties of volcanic and sedimentary rock layers.

Details of The Hardware

In regards to the specs of the hardware receiving the update, the agency did not give much into details. However, Tom’s Hardware speculated that it could have a Pentium 90 processor. What does this mean? This simply means that it could potentially run classic games such as Doom as well as also explore the secrets of the planet, Mars.

Andrea Cicchetti, the MARSIS deputy principal investigator and operation manager at INAF said ‘Previously, to study the most important features on Mars, and to study its moon Phobos at all, we relied on a complex technique that stored a lot of high-resolution data and filled up the instrument’s on-board memory very quickly.’ He also added ‘By discarding data that we don’t need, the new software allows us to switch MARSIS on for five times as long and explore a much larger area with each pass.’


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