Pasedena, CA – After a few weeks of speculation about why
NASA suddenly lost contact with the Spirit rover, engineers stumbled
on a simple software upgrade that quickly restored contact.
This simple link between NASA and the Spirit rover has become
a major problem.
“I don’t know why we did not think of this earlier,” said
engineer Mark Jacoby. The loss of communication with the rover had
troubled many people, and the resultant search for the error had
even more people worried the failure would add the Spirit rover to
the long list of lost hardware on Mars.
Then late one evening, during a simple reboot, engineers discovered
the computer used for Spirit’s Command and Control system was
missing a crucial software upgrade.
“After we restarted the Spirit C&C computer, we discovered
the link to Spirit had been disconnected because we didn’t
have the latest version of Microsoft ActiveSync,” stated Command
and Control manager Francis Dobson.
Never, in the history of NASA, has one
green light mattered
Upon making this discovery, IT specialists
from NASA quickly downloaded and installed the latest ActiveSync
build. As soon as ActiveSync
restarted, they heard the friendly chime showing reconnection to
Spirit. Not since Neil Armstrong stepped foot on the moon, has a
single sound been so significant for a space mission. After engineers
had synchronized all system files between NASA and Spirit, the mission
control room erupted with applause and cheers.
“I can’t believe those ‘rocket scientists’ didn’t
think of this earlier,” NASA IT worker Jack Sanchez said in
disbelief. Mr. Sanchez was not the only person shocked that the communications
fix was so simple, as NASA immediately formed a 15-person committee
to ensure that other simple, but key Microsoft components were up-to-date.
A partial list of these components includes solitaire, minesweeper,
hearts, and calculator. Engineers will present a formal report to
the Senate next week.
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