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NASA Installs OS Upgrade On Curiosity But Wheels Slowly Deteriorating

Update Date: Dec 27, 2013 10:32 AM EST

The U.S. space agency recently announced that it has installed an upgrade operating system on its Martian rover. The upgrade will be able to address the series of glitches and will further expand the rover’s capability.

Curiosity is a car-sized robotic rover which is exploring Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).

The rover has now also capability to take selfies. However, the main objective behind installing the upgrade was to examine the effects of wear-and-tear on the rover’s wheels.

“The wheels can sustain significant damage without impairing the rover’s ability to drive,” said JPL’s Jim Erickson, according to The Space Reporter. “However, we would like to understand the impact that this terrain type has on the wheels, to help with planning future drives.

NASA also cleared the rumors regarding the rover facing any problems related to wheel deterioration and said software upgrade was simply a part of precautionary measure.

The upgrade might sound straightforward but it took almost a week to install on Curiosity’s operating system. Each procedure required at least 30 minutes - 14 minutes to send a command and next 14 minutes to receive a response.

This is the third upgrade for Curiosity which according to NASA is still in working condition. After the update, the rover will continue searching life on Mars.

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