NASA patched Curiosity rover’s autofocus drawback over the air
Pardon me whereas I say one thing which may not be completely common: Software program updates are fairly superior. Perhaps not a lot for recreation consoles, however, I digress as a result of the Curiosity rover lately acquired a patch that improved the autofocus of its “ChemCam” telescope. Over the air. On Mars. Earlier than the replace, scientists at Los Alamos Nationwide Laboratory would take 9 footage of a topic (every at a unique focus) to get one usable shut-up picture of any of the Purple Planet’s rocks and soils, and ship them again house. Similar goes for any pattern analyses the laser was doing. The issue is that for these analyses to be anyplace remotely helpful, the telescope projecting stated laser wants to be in focus and the workaround in place wasn’t very environment friendly.
The answer? Get the rover to maintain taking 9 pictures, however for it to self-analyze the photographs and select the one which has the most effective focus — all with software program totaling forty kilobytes. That is proper: The software program used to identify water in Martian soil is lighter than the final Gmail replace on your telephone. The patch went stay this week and Curiosity‘s already again in motion.