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The Martian needs a Software Update

March 20, 2013

Curiosity finds Alien life?The Martian is a $0.99 Amazon Kindle book by Andy Weir I highly recommend. It’s about an botanist-astronaut, Mark Watney, who is accidentally abandoned on Mars, and has to figure out how to survive until a possible rescue mission four years later! I wouldn’t call it science-fiction. It’s more like “science-plausible,” with a thick, breathable atmosphere of humor. The poor guy was left with nothing but his NASA crew-mates 70’s reruns of “Three’s Company,” “Dukes of Hazzard,” and disco. Oh, the horror.

Today, the Mars rover Curiosity must feel like Watney. It was abandoned on Mars and has to survive. Right now it’s got a “glitch.” Curiously, Curiosity got glitched shortly after its analysis of rock dust “detected the first chemical evidence of possible alien life.” At that point, I think Curiosity looked around, got spooked at the thought of aliens, and shut down into “safe mode.” NASA’s calling it a glitch, but I think Curiosity is just a little freaked.

It happens. In tens of thousands of lines of code, there will be glitches. NASA programmers are trying to design and remotely apply a software patch for their rover from 140 million miles away. Kronos Global Support and our development organization ID and fix glitches, and release software patches on a regular basis. Kronos customers can get them easily on our Customer Portal. Kronos private cloud customers don’t need to worry about downloading and installing software patches. Our cloud services team does it for them. Just like NASA, but closer, and without the disco.

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