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From Canada to Mars: Java Technology Assists the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

From Canada to Mars: Java Technology Assists the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

Where do you go once your two main brands are so well known in the Java development community that you attain an installed base of more than 10,000,000 units in operation, with customers in over 35 countries?

How about Mars?

That, anyway, was the solution that the Java brower and Web access software provider ICEsoft Technologies came up with. Headquartered in Calgary, Canada, ICEsoft's technologies are currently being used by NASA to render collaborative Web data in the Mars Rover science and mission operations teams.

NASA’s Mars Rover Mission is using the company's ICEbrowser with MERBoard, a Web-based collaborative mission tool developed by NASA Ames Research Center for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission.

NASA's twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, are exploring opposite sides of the Red Planet to search for evidence of past or present water and to map its geological and climate history. More than 240 scientists and engineers are working daily in shifts around the clock to analyze incoming and existing data and to build new science goals and plans for the rovers. Good communication is essential to the mission's success.

"The recent Mars Rover missions are the culmination of years of planning and collaborative effort," said Stephen Maryka, chief technology officer, ICEsoft Technologies. "Advanced planning and data analysis are essential to mission success. Accurate and detailed imaging is crucial to NASA's scientists, so they can formulate meaningful conclusions about Mars."

ICEbrowser allowed NASA to seamlessly incorporate an HTML rendering engine into its Web-based MERBoard, thereby supporting all its collaborative sites.

ICEsoft's Java technology allows MERBoard to render across a range of heterogeneous operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Mac OS-X.

A combination of software and a five-foot touch screen, MERBoard assists science and operations teams during MER surface operations. The tool enables teams to retrieve, view, share and annotate mission data and Rover images from anywhere at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's mission control, in real time. The board provides an immersive work environment while its touch screen literally puts information at the team members' fingertips. ICEbrowser is integrated into the MERBoard to provide mission teams with access to Web-based data sources and mission documentation.

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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.

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