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Why serviceability is important

The Phoenix lander found water ice on Mars. That’s cool, but even cooler (from a terribly geeky setup perspective) is the Phoenix team‘s need to service the software running on the lander:

The confirming discovery came despite some technical glitches, including an incident with Phoenix‘s onboard filing and data storage system that caused the lander to produce thousands of duplicate copies of file-maintenance data files and clog things up. The software issue was promptly diagnosed and should be “patched” no later than Tuesday, according to Barry Goldstein, Phoenix project manager, of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

More details here. Imagine installing a patch from 171,410,657 miles away (plus or minus). I hope there are no prompts for source…