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On July 4, 1997, Pathfinder landed successfully in the Ares Vallis region of Mars. The spacecraft was a robotic embedded system, designed to collect samples, capture video images and transmit meteorological readings back to Earth. Unfortunately, in its third week of operation, the Pathfinder encountered problems that required a total system reset (Cook and Spear, 1998), resulting in long data acquisition delays (Durkin, 1998).

It took three weeks (Durkin, 1998) for the engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), to remotely diagnose the problem. The software bug was eventually fixed following extensive simulations lasting eighteen hours (Durkin, 1998). Once the software in the spacecraft was updated, it again became fully operational.

Research interest:

  • Embedded System
  • Testing for Real-time System
  • Real-time Software Architecture
  • Embedded Security