Mars Express Spacecraft Finally Installs Windows 98

Mars Express Receives Update
Mars Express Receives Update

Engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) are preparing for the Windows 98 update on an orbiter orbiting Mars. The Mars Express spacecraft has been operating for more than 19 years, and the Mars Advanced Underground and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) instrument on board uses Windows 98-based software. Fortunately, ESA is not migrating to Windows ME for the benefit of people on Earth and the Red Planet.

Windows Versions from the Beginning to Today

  • Windows 1.0
  • Windows 2.0
  • Windows 3.0
  • Windows 3.1x
  • Windows NT 3.1
  • Windows NT 3.5
  • Windows NT 3.51
  • Windows 95
  • Windows NT 4.0
  • Windows 98
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows ME
  • Windows Neptune
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server Essentials
  • Windows Embedded
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows HomeServer
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows CE
  • Pocket PC 2000
  • Pocket PC 2002
  • Portable Media Center
  • Windows Mobile
  • Windows 10
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows MultiPoint Server
  • Windows IoT
  • 10 Windows Mobile
  • Windows 11

2018 saw the discovery of a massive underground reservoir of liquid water on Mars, thanks in large part to the MARSIS sensor aboard ESA's Mars Express. ESA claims this major new software update will "enable Mars and its moon Phobos to look beneath their surface in greater detail than ever before." Mars Express, the organization's first mission to the Red Planet, launched into space in 2003 and has spent over 20 years probing the planet's surface.

To search for water on Mars and learn more about its atmosphere, MARSIS uses low-frequency radio waves reflected from the planet's surface. Software updates will increase signal reception and onboard data processing to improve the quality of data transmitted back to Earth. The device's 130-foot antenna can search about three miles below the Martian surface.

“We encountered a number of hurdles to improve the performance of MARSIS,” says Carlo Nenna, software engineer at Enginium who assisted ESA with the upgrade. Not least, because Microsoft Windows 98 was used as a development environment when the MARSIS program was first created nearly 20 years ago!

The National Institute of Astrophysics (INAF) and ESA have used a method to store lots of high-resolution data on the MARSIS instrument, but this quickly consumes onboard memory.

According to Andrea Cicchetti, MARSIS operations manager at INAF, the new software allows us to open MARSIS five times longer and cover a significantly larger region with each pass.

“The new instruments will allow us to explore these areas more quickly and extensively with high detail and determine whether they contain fresh water on Mars. Nearly 20 years after its launch, it feels like Mars Express has a brand new instrument.

Although ESA has not specified the exact software that MARSIS will be upgraded to, it is suspected that the team upgraded MARSIS's CPU and enabled TPM 11 in the BIOS to load Windows 2.0. TRUE?

source: theverge

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