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posted by janrinok on Sunday July 05 2015, @11:52PM   Printer-friendly
from the change-phone-provider dept.

NASA's mission to Pluto lost contact with ground controllers and went into "safe mode" when contact was re-established.

Ten days before NASA 's New Horizons spacecraft was due to make its closest approach to Pluto, the space agency reports that at 1:54 PM EDT on the afternoon of July 4th local U.S. time, it lost contact with the $700 million unmanned flyby mission for more than an hour and twenty minutes. Controllers were able to regain a signal from the probe via NASA's Deep Space Network at 3:15 PM. EDT, but as a result, the spacecraft's systems have entered safe mode until mission engineers can diagnose the problem.

Of course, New Horizons is way out there, which makes communications difficult.

Recovery from the event is inherently hamstrung due to the 9-hour, round trip communication delay that the agency says "results from operating a spacecraft almost 3 billion miles (4.9 billion kilometers) from Earth.

Fly-by is scheduled to take place on July 14th. Can't help but wonder if this is not revenge for being demoted to a dwarf planet.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by stormwyrm on Monday July 06 2015, @01:39AM

    by stormwyrm (717) Subscriber Badge on Monday July 06 2015, @01:39AM (#205446) Journal
    I don't think it would take that long. The data link to New Horizons seems to be 1 kilobyte/second []. While this is dismal by earth standards, a year's worth of continuous transmission at that rate is still approximately 30 gigabytes. I seriously doubt that even the full firmware image used for the probe is anywhere near that big. Like most serious embedded systems it's probably coded in highly-optimised assembly language and I imagine it's in the hundreds of kilobytes or tens of megabytes at most.
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  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Monday July 06 2015, @03:05AM

    I once allocated my firmware's memory in Excell. How much rsnge does that integer really need? 16 bits will do.

    Yes I Have No Bananas. []