Custom Application Development

May 30 2008   10:27AM GMT

Robotic Arm Programming, Mars and Agile Methods?

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

I read with great interest an article about the recently successful Mars Lander “NASA: Robotic arm key to finding life on Mars”  In particular what caught my attention was that the programmers for the mission are sending daily code updates to Mars to guide the robotic arm as it gathers and prepares sample for analysis.  They are on a daily schedule of writing, testing and sending new code sequences to their “baby” on Mars!  Sounds like a story straight out of science fiction!  (I wonder if this is considered an Agile team 🙂

The article refers to the sequences taking about 20 minutes, and then 12-16 hours later feedback from the Lander.  Certainly there’s no pressure to get the code right the first time – is there?  Well, there is also the pride of the development team — my hats off to salute them!  What an accomplishment!  Man and machine, working together – what a team!

May our programming future enable such flexibility, whether we program for business, medical or space exploration.

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