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Ep. 25, Page 39
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Comic 1857 - Ep. 25, Page 39

8th Apr 2015, 11:03 PM in Episode 25 :: Save My Place | Load My Place
Average Rating: 5 (2 votes)

Author Notes:

smbhax 8th Apr 2015, 11:03 PM edit delete
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity has been having amnesia! That's what NASA calls trouble with the rover's flash memory, anyway, because with the flash memory going on the blink for some mysterious reason, the rover reverts to using its standard, volatile RAM to store the information it collects in its travels each day—but standard RAM loses all its information when the rover powers down at night, so it "forgets" the day's work. Back around New Year's, NASA decided to "hack" the robot's programming to try to fix the problem; they thought this would take a couple weeks, but they were still working on it in late March; they thought they'd isolated the problem to the seventh of the rover's seven memory banks, so they reformatted the RAM to use just the first six banks, hoping this would solve the memory outages; meanwhile, they'd programmed the rover to beam back its information every day before going to sleep, which wasn't very efficient, but at least got the data to NASA before it was lost each night. But less than a week later, Opportunity experienced another bout of memory loss, so the amnesia problem is still there. On the plus side, the rover hasn't been resetting itself, which it had been doing multiple times a day when it was using all its flash RAM banks, so they may have solved THAT problem, at least.

Despite all these memory problems outages the rover in its advanced 11 year and two months age, it continues to explore the red planet at its leisurely pace, and NASA just celebrated it having passed a total land travel distance equal to an Earthly marathon: 26.219 miles, or 42.195 kilometers. Not too shabby, considering that Opportunity's original mission only called for it to operate for a total of 90 days! And it finally beat the rover distance record of 39 km set by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 on the Moon back in 1973—Lunokhod 2 ("lunokhod" means "moon walker" in Russian) covered that distance in a mere four months, mind you.


moizmad 9th Apr 2015, 12:39 PM edit delete reply
Well hurry up, this whole place is crawling!

Re Mars, oh boy, I can't wait til it finds something interesting like maybe a fossilized bug.
smbhax 9th Apr 2015, 9:25 PM edit delete reply
Heh a fossilized bug would probably go down as the greatest discovery in the history of mankind!
moizmad 10th Apr 2015, 12:41 PM edit delete reply
It's no big deal, there's scads of them behind my fridge!