Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Long Distance Tech Support

If you’ve had to spend hours on the phone with a technical support center to solve a problem with a computer or other electronics products–and who hasn’t, these days–then you can sympathize with the engineers at JPL who had to…
February 15, 2004

If you’ve had to spend hours on the phone with a technical support center to solve a problem with a computer or other electronics products–and who hasn’t, these days–then you can sympathize with the engineers at JPL who had to deal with the faulty computer problem on the Mars rover Spirit a few weeks ago. As this Associated Press article points out, the engineers dealing with Spirit’s computer glitch had the additional issues of remotely diagnosing a problem with a computer that was, along with the nearest human tech support, nearly 200 million kilometers away. They were aided by the fact that the operating system the rover’s computer was using, VxWorks, was not only flight tested on previous missions, it was in widespread commercial use here on Earth in everything from aircraft to pacemakers. The problem with Spirit’s computer–too many files on the rover’s flash memory taking up space in RAM when the computer tried to boot up–was eventually diagnosed and solved. It was something engineers admit they overlooked on the ground in testing before launch, but given tight schedules they didn’t have the time to perform all the tests they wanted. Fortunately for the rover it had a good tech support hotline to call.

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Our best illustrations of 2022

Our artists’ thought-provoking, playful creations bring our stories to life, often saying more with an image than words ever could.

How CRISPR is making farmed animals bigger, stronger, and healthier

These gene-edited fish, pigs, and other animals could soon be on the menu.

The Download: the Saudi sci-fi megacity, and sleeping babies’ brains

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology. These exclusive satellite images show Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway In early 2021, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia announced The Line: a “civilizational revolution” that would house up…

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.