New software fixes Mars glitches

The two Mars rovers have been refreshed with new software allowing them to travel longer distances and extend their missions until September, NASA said. The new software will allow the rovers to travel through difficult terrain and recover from glitches such as the problems that plagued Spirit in late January.

Spirit will now be able to travel much further each day as it has to take fewer images and generate fewer new 3-D maps, NASA said. The software will allow Opportunity to travel through the Meridiani Planum's rocky terrain. "The current autonomous navigation software sometimes gets stuck when it detects a hazard that it can't navigate around," NASA said. "The new version will allow the rovers ... to find the best possible path."

News source: ABC Science Online

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