Mars spacecraft gets Windows 98 update in 2022 to boost performance! Yes, you read it right

ESA’s Mars spacecraft is receiving Windows 98 updates to boost performance to improve its mission capabilities. Check the details.

You read it right. A spacecraft orbiting Mars is finally getting Windows 98 update to boost its performance. Sounds strange right? Many of you reading this may even know about Windows 98. And that shouldn’t be a problem, as this spacecraft was launched in 2003 and has been orbiting the red planet for almost 19 years now. It’s been a long time and in the technological world on planet Earth, this craft would be considered obsolete. After all, how many computers do you still use Windows 98, or even Windows XP on?

The spacecraft, called Mars Express, was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2003 and its software is based on Microsoft’s Windows 98. This spacecraft carries an instrument called Mars Advanced Radar for Suburface and Ionosphereic Sounding (MARSIS). The device was key to discovering a massive underground liquid aquifer in 2018. ESA now wants to upgrade the theocrat to make it even better.

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Mars Express receives Windows 98 update

Essentially, the MARSIS instrument uses low-frequency radio waves to study the Martian surface for water and its atmosphere. The spacecraft’s 130-foot antenna can search up to 3 miles below the planet’s surface. With a software update, the spacecraft can now improve its signal reception and data processing on board. This will improve the quality of the data sent to Earth.

Andrea Cicchetti, Deputy PI MARSIS and Operations Manager at INAF, who led the way, said: “After decades of fruitful science and a solid understanding of Mars, we wanted to push the instrument’s performance beyond a few necessary limits when the mission begins. development of the upgrade.

“We faced a number of challenges to improve MARSIS performance,” said Carlo Nenna, software engineer on board MARSIS at Enginium, which is performing the upgrade. “Most especially because the MARSIS software was originally designed over 20 years ago, using a development environment based on Microsoft Windows 98!”

“Previously, to study the most important features on Mars, and to study Phobos on its moon, we relied on a sophisticated technique that stores a lot of high-resolution data and fills it up. fill the device’s onboard memory very quickly.” Andrea. “By removing data that we don’t need, the new software allows us to turn on MARSIS for 5 times longer and explore a much larger area with each pass,” adds Andrea.

With the new software provided, Mars Express will speed up studying these regions at high resolution and confirm whether they are a source of water on Mars. ESA Mars Express scientist Colin Wilson added: “It really feels like a brand new instrument on board Mars Express nearly 20 years after its launch.

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