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Thread: The European Space Agency Will be Remotely Upgradin Its Mars Spacecraft's Software Which was Written with Windows-98-based Tools

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    Default The European Space Agency Will be Remotely Upgradin Its Mars Spacecraft's Software Which was Written with Windows-98-based Tools

    European Space Agency to upgrade Mars Express spacecraft from software made with Windows 98

    By Sean Endicott last updated 27 June 22

    The Mars Express spacecraft has run on an OS built with development tools based on Windows 98 for 19 years.
    Mars Express spacecraft in orbit around Mars
    (Image credit: ESA - Illustration by Medialab)

    Update (12:22 PM, June 27, 2022): This post has been updated to reflect that the MARSIS instrument was designed with a development environment that was based on Windows 98.
    What you need to know:

    The Mars Express spacecraft, which launched in 2003, will receive a software update to improve the data it sends back to Earth.
    Currently, the craft runs on an operating system built with Windows 98.
    The Mars Express houses the MARSIS instrument, which helped discover signs of liquid water on Mars.

    Windows 8.1 may be on its way out the door, but the European Space Agency (ESA) has an older operating system to deal with. The Mars Express spacecraft needs to be updated from its OS that was built with tools based on Windows 98. The MARSIS instrument, which was used to discover signs of liquid water on Mars, is housed on the spacecraft. A software update will allow the device to see what's below the surface of the red planet in more detail, according to the ESA.

    “After decades of fruitful science and having gained a good understanding of Mars, we wanted to push the instrument’s performance beyond some of the limitations required back when the mission began,” said MARSIS Deputy PI and Operation Manager at INAF Andrea Cicchetti.

    “We faced a number of challenges to improve the performance of MARSIS,” said Carlo Nenna. “Not least because the MARSIS software was originally designed over 20 years ago, using a development environment based on Microsoft Windows 98!”

    The software update for the Mars Express will improve signal reception and on-board data processing. This will increase how much data can be sent back to Earth and improve the quality of that data.

    Previously received signals indicated that liquid water may be present in several regions near the south pole of Mars. The software update should provide more in-depth information for these areas.

    "The new software will help us more quickly and extensively study these regions in high resolution and confirm whether they are home to new sources of water on Mars. It really is like having a brand new instrument on board Mars Express almost 20 years after launch," said ESA Mars Express scientist Colin Wilson.

    Sean Endicott

    News Writer and apps editor

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    Great Puma (Level 12) Niku-Sama's Avatar
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    wonder if it can play doom...

    it would be fitting

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    Really Windows 98 is as good of an OS as anybody needs. Before Windows got overly bloated.

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    Obviously they solved the memory leak problem for it to still be running.

    Windows 98 was a great GUI OS, more importantly built on top of DOS. So I guess it is using visual studio type programming ( like with Windows Mugen when they made the switch from DOS ).
    That being said their is a PC98 program for disks that only could be run on Windows 98.

    Another thing about Windows 98. Security wise it was okay. However anybody with your computer address could waltz in and wreck havoc. That is why so many hacks was easily done during that time.
    Everything was based on the trust system. Speaking of trust windows XP gave us the Thumbs.db file. This file actually could be used via command-line to browse a persons computer and specifically targeted their image files. As with Marijuana via the Nixon era and how "the war on drugs was created as a political tool to fight blacks and hippies" for us via the Bush/Bill/Obama eras we was being targeted being mostly guys rather then real surveillance. Now you have a bunch of people in jail who did nothing wrong.

    Again I understand fully why we would use Windows 98 over NT ( 2000, XP, 7, 8, Deerpark, 10 ). Because it had so much security and because it was not using something simple like DOS.


    In my college science department I held a $10,000 piece of equipment that was being replaced. It had the LTP Printer Port cable on it. So many people within these areas are stuck with using this technology as it was made at the time.

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