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NASA Patches Curiosity Rover’s Chem Cam from 235 Million Miles Away

As if the people at NASA haven’t been doing enough awesome stuff lately they just did one insanely long distance software upgrade. The Curiosity rover just got the auto-focus of its “Chem Cam” improved with an update while it is wandering around Mars.

In case you forgot Mars is currently 2.53au (astronomical units) away, which translates into 235.1 million miles away. The scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory previously took nine pictures of each sample at a different focus in attempt to get one usable photo. All of those nine pictures of the soil and rocks would be transmitted back to NASA. Now after the update the rover actually still takes the same amount of photos, but now it will self-analyze those nine photos for the one with the best focus. This update that brings about a very useful new feature, as it only comes in at 40 kilobytes. Engadget points out that that is lighter than the last Android Gmail update.

It is great to see NASA continuing to amaze us with the Curiosity rover’s journey across the surface of Mars. The mission to find out if Mars can support life has been very interesting to watch, but they still have so much more work to do.

Thank you Engadget.com for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Ryan Leiserowitz

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