NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity team has upgraded the software on the vehicle, i.e. third upgrade since landing of the rover on Mars about 16 months ago.
“Curiosity is now operating on version 11 of its flight software,” said Jim Erickson of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, project manager for the NASA Mars Science Laboratory Project, which operates Curiosity. Upgrading the software from version 10 took about a week.
This version will increase the rover’s capabilities as for example improved Curiosity’s robotic arm while on slopes and flexibility for storing information overnight.
The team is now working on the wheels of the big toy. In this regard, the rover will be driving to a relatively smooth patch of ground to take a set of images of its aluminum wheels, using the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera at the end of the rover’s arm.
“We want to take a full inventory of the condition of the wheels,” Erickson said. “Dents and holes were anticipated, but the amount of wear appears to have accelerated in the past month or so. It appears to be correlated with driving over rougher terrain. The wheels can sustain significant damage without impairing the rover’s ability to drive. However, we would like to understand the impact that this terrain type has on the wheels, to help with planning future drives.”
Curiosity Team Upgrades Software, Checks Wheel Wear – NASA (http://goo.gl/i18PqE)