Monday, August 06, 2012

~ Hello Mars, once again! ~

Curiosity just landed on the RED planet a.k.a Mars 9 hours ago, with a perfect landing.

I'm safely on the surface of Mars. GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!! 

Just spell bound by the success of the mission. There is so much of complexity involved in every stage of the project till the Curiosity is safely landed and does it's job for what it has been sent to. I can only imagine the effort put by various teams which were involved in this epic journey.

The work is Magnificent. I am into software development. My work isn't as complex as these guys; rather some simple social web applications which helps businesses and customers. The nature of such work just eclipses mine.

To achieve a near perfect landing, it would require a lot of testing. Testing on various levels - electrical, mechanical, pressure, EDL (Entry, Descent & Landing), software, environment, etc. If testing fails to uncover any faults, then project would just burn Billion Dollars of tax payers' money. Therefore for such kind of projects - test plans, coverage, benchmarking, regression - is very vital for the final outcome. I feel testing is more valuable than development at certain phases of the project. The statistics from the endless testing would finally pay the dividend for the over-all success of the project.

Bugs / Faults are essentially part of the software development system. The journey of the product is to evolve every passing. If it isn't, then it's better to quit! In a mission critical project like MSL (Mars Science Laboratory ) my guess is that the fault tolerance level would be a near 0.

Following are some of the interesting references:
Science Goals
The challenge of complexity
Planetary protection
Robotic arm
Instruments on Curiosity
Mars Missions 

Here is a video which covers the various teams who are involved in developing the rover over many years. Gives us an insight into various domains and the kind of rigorous testing it undergoes before lift-off.

Curiosity is also Social Media friendly. It has a tweet handle - Curiosity Rover - in case you want to follow it's life on Mars on a daily basis.

Oscars for Geeks
Next Gen, Nuke powered Rover
The Creative and Business Lessons from MSL

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