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A decade on Mars and it's losing its marbles
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NASA engineers are preparing a radical fix that could help the Opportunity Mars rover regain its fading faculties and continue its mission.

The rover, which has spent ten years rolling across the Martian plains, has been having memory problems for the last six months because the cells in its flash memory have been overwritten so many times they are starting to fail.

"Now we're having these events we call "amnesia", which is the rover trying to use the flash memory, but it wasn't able to, so instead it uses the RAM," Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas told Discovery News. "It stores telemetry data in that volatile memory, but when the rover goes to sleep and wakes up again, all [the data] is gone. So that's why we call it amnesia - it forgets what it has done.
source ; http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/12/31/nasa_prepares_lobotomy_for_opportunity_rover_to_cure_computer_amnesia/
 

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Eh, Wha?
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Poor little thing. We should fly it a new modern SSD
wink.gif
 

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I think it's more funny that we can't help but feel attached to these rovers as if they were pets. I hope we can someday retrieve the rovers we sent there rather than just junk them as soon as they fail.
 

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Poor little buddy. Hope it gets better soon!
 

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Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

Poor little thing. We should fly it a new modern SSD
wink.gif
"Modern" NAND have lower P/E cycles!

The stuff NASA is using is probably rated for 100K cycles rather than the 1000-5000 cycles in current MLC/TLC.

I'm not accounting for any hardening or extreme environment considerations. I bet NASA didn't either since they really didn't expect these rovers to last 10+ years!!!!!!!!!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

"Modern" NAND have lower P/E cycles!

The stuff NASA is using is probably rated for 100K cycles rather than the 1000-5000 cycles in current MLC/TLC.

I'm not accounting for any hardening or extreme environment considerations. I bet NASA didn't either since they really didn't expect these rovers to last 10+ years!!!!!!!!!
I was going to ask about things like rad hardening, but then I found this and it answered my Qs, haha
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_RAD6000
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

"Modern" NAND have lower P/E cycles!

The stuff NASA is using is probably rated for 100K cycles rather than the 1000-5000 cycles in current MLC/TLC.

I'm not accounting for any hardening or extreme environment considerations. I bet NASA didn't either since they really didn't expect these rovers to last 10+ years!!!!!!!!!
There are modern SSDs using SLC. I know you know that Duckie. Why would NASA settle on mainstream consumer grade components? Well... massive budget cuts aside
rolleyes.gif


At any rate, there have been massive strides in both the controllers used for SSDs, and their total capacity, in the last 10 years. Even using a smaller manufacturing process which leads to less cycles per cell, you just have so many more cells and such a better way to manage them. Overall a modern SSD designed as a replacement for what is on the rover would be an amazing upgrade.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DuckieHo View Post

"Modern" NAND have lower P/E cycles!

The stuff NASA is using is probably rated for 100K cycles rather than the 1000-5000 cycles in current MLC/TLC.

I'm not accounting for any hardening or extreme environment considerations. I bet NASA didn't either since they really didn't expect these rovers to last 10+ years!!!!!!!!!
The mission was supposed to last 90 days. I'd say that the drives were definitely overbuilt if the rovers have lasted over 40 times as long as they were meant to.
wink.gif
Also, couldn't they just use an older, larger node to build the newer-design NAND? Or is it a bit more complicated than that?

I think it's neat that they can provide tech support and firmware updates somewhere between 60 and 240 million miles away. That's pretty amazing.
 

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Right now im in "wow" status because never thought that this little boy will last 10 years on mars
biggrin.gif
I am impressed now. Hope they will find a solution for that issue
wink.gif
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by kakik09 View Post

I think it's more funny that we can't help but feel attached to these rovers as if they were pets. I hope we can someday retrieve the rovers we sent there rather than just junk them as soon as they fail.
+1

I remember it when it went up... and I was at the NASA party in Mtn View for Curiosity... was like a freaking concert... had to be at least 20k people there. They're not just little toys to a lot of us. Can't help but feel a little attached...

 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynicalUnicorn View Post

The mission was supposed to last 90 days. I'd say that the drives were definitely overbuilt if the rovers have lasted over 40 times as long as they were meant to.
wink.gif
Also, couldn't they just use an older, larger node to build the newer-design NAND? Or is it a bit more complicated than that?

I think it's neat that they can provide tech support and firmware updates somewhere between 60 and 240 million miles away. That's pretty amazing.
Ive always said that our biggest advesary to advancement has been our archaeic energy sources. We have so much theoretical cool science stuff (including teleporters) that dont or barely function because of insane power requirements.

To that end Im not surprised that we can do tech support and firmware updates that far away.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zero4549 View Post

There are modern SSDs using SLC. I know you know that Duckie. Why would NASA settle on mainstream consumer grade components? Well... massive budget cuts aside
rolleyes.gif


At any rate, there have been massive strides in both the controllers used for SSDs, and their total capacity, in the last 10 years. Even using a smaller manufacturing process which leads to less cycles per cell, you just have so many more cells and such a better way to manage them. Overall a modern SSD designed as a replacement for what is on the rover would be an amazing upgrade.
100K was the rating for 50nm SLC NAND.

Capacity really is not an issue for NASA. These systems are basically writtnen bare metal and optimized only for each piece of hardware. Go check the hardware running on these "newer" probes. Validation takes so long that all the hardware going up is considered generations old.

In addition, I doubt the current rovers use a full standalone SSD.... the layer of abstraction is not mature enough (see the occasional firmware bugs). I would think the rovers use embedded NAND... maybe serial NAND.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DIYDeath View Post

Ive always said that our biggest advesary to advancement has been our archaeic energy sources. We have so much theoretical cool science stuff (including teleporters) that dont or barely function because of insane power requirements.

To that end Im not surprised that we can do tech support and firmware updates that far away.
Teleporters not limited by power requirements... they are limited by physics.
 

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Anyone know for sure if the rovers employ wear-leveling? Not polling for guesses. It probably wouldn't make much of a difference with so little NAND onboard, but I'm curious just the same.
 

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I dont understand NASA. You are prepping a rover for 90days mission then try to use it for 10 years. Same happened with Voyagers. If you want to use after the mission why not make something which is going to last longer ? We cant send rovers to Mars each week, so why not build them for longer missions ?

I can understand that its main job is to complete mission X in Y days and after everything rover sends back can be considered as "bonus" information, but yet again building a better rover which is going to endure longer seems a better idea

/grabs flame shield
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvarez View Post

I dont understand NASA. You are prepping a rover for 90days mission then try to use it for 10 years. Same happened with Voyagers. If you want to use after the mission why not make something which is going to last longer ? We cant send rovers to Mars each week, so why not build them for longer missions ?

I can understand that its main job is to complete mission X in Y days and after everything rover sends back can be considered as "bonus" information, but yet again building a better rover which is going to endure longer seems a better idea

/grabs flame shield
It's very hard to bet on them lasting longer, even if you build for it
 

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Originally designed for 90 days! The VRM's on that thing were designed and Fabbed at Cherry Semiconductor. I really enjoyed working there, such a shame ON destroyed it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvarez View Post

I dont understand NASA. You are prepping a rover for 90days mission then try to use it for 10 years. Same happened with Voyagers. If you want to use after the mission why not make something which is going to last longer ? We cant send rovers to Mars each week, so why not build them for longer missions ?

I can understand that its main job is to complete mission X in Y days and after everything rover sends back can be considered as "bonus" information, but yet again building a better rover which is going to endure longer seems a better idea

/grabs flame shield
...because it's engineering.

They are provided mission parameters.... so they have to build to that. Since this is mission-critical and extreme environments engineering, they naturally over-engineer everything. This is why these systems can last so long.

However, the mission parameters are what they MUST fulfill... no-matter-what.

Designing a machine that is required to last 90 days and happens to last longer is very very different from designing a machine that is required to last 10 years.
 
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