Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Automic Blog, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Java Runs NASA Mars Rovers

Java Runs NASA Mars Rovers

When the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Mars Exploration Rover, Spirit, successfully landed on Mars on January 3, 2004, Java was there too. The Mars Rovers devices, developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in conjunction with Wind River, use the Java platform as a low-cost, easy-to-use option for the program controlling the Rovers' operating system.

Why Java? James Gosling, JPL advisory board member and "Father of Java," explains that it's due to Java's ability to transcend many platforms. "They can have scientists all over the world looking at the data but collaboratively deciding on the way the mission should proceed," said Gosling. "They are all speaking different languages when they talk to the rover but everybody in the control room is using Java."

Spirit is sending as much as 150 megabits of data daily to NASA scientists, and that datastream will increase when the sister rover, Opportunity, lands on January 24. To deal with this data, Sun Microsystems and NASA built four operational storage servers at the JPL that altogether can hold four terabytes of data.

The Java program used on the robotic rovers is nearly identical to the JPL's online program Maestro that allows site visitors to guide a simulated rover across a 3-D Martian terrain. (To try out the Java-based data browser Maestro and drive a simulated dune buggy on Mars, see http://mars.telascience.org/.)

Java's journey to Mars began nearly ten years ago, when JPL scientists began experimenting with Java as a language for the command and control system for the 1995 Mars Sojourner. When the JPL team brought their work to Sun Microsystems' attention, James Gosling, father of Java, became intrigued, and spent so much time at the Pasadena space lab that he became an advisory board member. "They (the JPL team) are doing things that people think are science fiction," said Gosling. "It's a place to have your mind blown." (See James Gosling's weblog for more of his comments on the Mars Rovers.)

The Spirit is one of two twin robot geologists running on Wind River's real-time operating system (RTOS), VxWorks. The second twin, Opportunity, is scheduled to land on Mars on January 24, 2004. On Mars, Spirit will perform complex tasks, such as trajectory, descent and ground operations control, data collection, and Mars-to-Earth communication relay.

In addition to powering the Mars Rovers, Wind River's technology also operates within NASA JPL's Stardust spacecraft. Stardust is the first United States space mission dedicated solely to the exploration of a comet, named Wild 2, and the first robotic mission designed to return extraterrestrial material from outside the orbit of the Moon. This month, Stardust will complete its four-year journey from Earth, arriving within 100 kilometers of the speeding nucleus of Wild 2 to collect dust samples from the comet's tail in order to help answer fundamental questions regarding the origins of the solar system. Wind River's VxWorks RTOS is responsible for Stardust's flight trajectory and path, the collection of interstellar dust and cometary material, the journey back to Earth, and the safe landing of the return capsule.

The Mars Exploration Rovers and the Stardust missions are part of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA's lead center for robotic exploration of the solar system, which is managed by the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA. To learn more about Mars Exploration Rovers, go to marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov/home/. To learn more about Stardust, go to stardust.jpl.nasa.gov.

More Stories By Java News Desk

JDJ News Desk monitors the world of Java to present IT professionals with updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards in the Java and i-technology space.

Comments (11) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Gilster 10/11/04 01:58:44 AM EDT

Alex, looks like you haven't bothered to even learn Java and therefore, wouldn't have any idea on how to code in other languages too; Java Rocks.
Java Thread dumps are often cause by inexperienced coders like yourself!

JBR 02/01/04 11:39:38 PM EST

Interesting and exciting news about JAVA.yah, JAVA is conquering all.....

Alex 01/29/04 07:59:01 AM EST

Hey, SYS-CON editors where is your new headline story
"Java DON''T RUN NASA Mars Rovers. Java Anywhere is a Fiction."?

A MER GDS Developer 01/28/04 07:40:37 PM EST

To set the record straight... There is absolutely no Java running onboard the MER rovers. The flight software is all written in C for vxWorks, with possibly a tiny bit of assembly language. The MER project does run Java in several key places on the ground. The ground data system has software written in a variety of languages. I''ve seen Fortran, C, C++, Perl, Python, and Java.

Alex 01/27/04 08:17:52 AM EST

"The U.K.''''s Beagle 2 apparently was running .Net. One can imagine it up there on Mars, showing a Blue Screen of Death." :)
No Guesses. Java proudly crash and producing thread dumps. Java don''t need those "blue screens", it proudly crash without them.
The only strange thing - why statements "Java on the Mars" and "Software crashed" always appear in different press releases. Why not proudly announce - "Java crashed on the Mars", or "Write once, crash everywhere".

Fred N 01/25/04 02:04:21 PM EST

Being as risk adverse as JPL is, I''d be surprised they would put something as complex as a Java virtual machine on top of a flat memory operating system, even though this configuration can be found in many embedded computer environments. It is bad enough that memory corruption and other hardware issues can bring down a flat memory operating system much more easily than a memory protected operating system where the application effected by the hardware can be contained and diagnosted by the stable, secure os kernel. But to add in a complex Java virtual machine in there too is asking for trouble.

David Crocket 01/23/04 05:27:19 PM EST

Raj Upadhyaya, you beat me to it. If that is Java''s version of a BSOD, it appears more complex. And Greg, its "Write once, tweak everywhere".

SCJP

Raj Upadhyaya 01/22/04 09:03:49 PM EST

Last message received from Mars Rover.

Full thread dump:
"Thread-5" (TID:0xee703b78, sys_thread_t:0xee261db8, state:R) prio=5
mythread.stopper(exec3.java:10)
mythread.run(exec3.java:16)
"Thread-4" (TID:0xee703bb8, sys_thread_t:0xee291db8, state:R) prio=5 *current thread*
mythread.stopper(exec3.java:10)
mythread.run(exec3.java:16)
"Finalizer thread" (TID:0xee700220, sys_thread_t:0xee2c1d b8, state:R) prio=1
"Async Garbage Collector" (TID:0xee700268, sys_thread_t:0 xee2f1db8, state:R) prio=1
"Idle thread" (TID:0xee7002b0, sys_thread_t:0xee3c1db8, state:R) prio=0
"Clock" (TID:0xee700088, sys_thread_t:0xee3f1db8, state:CW) prio=12
"main" (TID:0xee7000b0, sys_thread_t:0x693a0, state:CW) prio=5
exec3.main(exec3.java:32)
Monitor Cache Dump:
[email protected]/EE74E190: owner "Thread-4" (0xee291db8, 1 entry)
[email protected]/EE74E270: owner "Thread-5" (0xee261db8, 1 entry)
(0x693a0):
Waiting to be notified:
"main" (0x693a0)
Registered Monitor Dump:
Thread queue lock:
Name and type hash table lock:
String intern lock:
JNI pinning lock:
JNI global reference lock:
BinClass lock:
Class loading lock:
Java stack lock:
Code rewrite lock:
Heap lock:
Has finalization queue lock:
Finalize me queue lock:
Monitor IO lock:
Child death monitor:
Event monitor:
I/O monitor:
Alarm monitor:
Waiting to be notified:
"Clock" (0xee3f1db8)
Sbrk lock:
Monitor registry: owner "Thread-4" (0xee291db8, 1 entry)
Thread Alarm Q:
sys_thread_t 0x693a0 [Timeout in 9997374 ms]

Ron Hitchens 01/20/04 08:28:47 PM EST

Hmm. I''ve seen Dr. Gosling speak several times in the last few months and he always talks about his involvment with the Mars Rover project. He also always says that while Java is employed extensively by the ground systems there''s no Java onboard the rover itself. Have we gotten a little ahead of ourselves here?

Greg Granato 01/20/04 10:21:01 AM EST

More evidence of "Write once, run anywhere".

Tyrone Hed 01/20/04 09:03:57 AM EST

The U.K.''s Beagle 2 apparently was running .Net. One can imagine it up there on Mars, showing a Blue Screen of Death.

@ThingsExpo Stories
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices t...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.