Reliability First - Spacecrafts

I bet you've heard that last week, for the first time, a human artifact has landed on a comet (named 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko). The lander Philae and it's companion the space probe Rosetta of the ESA (European Space Agency) have done a long and great work. At this page you can see a resume of their ten years of journey in the Solar System.

Artistic image of Rosetta, Philae and comet 67P/Churyumov–GerasimenkoArtistic image of Rosetta, Philae and comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

But it was not a bed of roses. The mission had some troubles, starting from the delayed launch and ended with the not so perfect landing of Philae. There have been some technical issues but Rosetta has been reliable enough to accomplish its duty.

There is a lesson that a developer can learn from this story: create your software as it should survive ten years in space without maintenance. Check every possible failure case and make it work even if the situation is not perfect.

Of course, this is a reminder to me too, since too many times I think the system would never run out of memory or disk space.


Image by European Space Agency taken from Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO license.

Luca Sommacal

Luca Sommacal

Italian developer (mainly in C for embedded platforms), Linux learner, addicted to rock music, history, science and few other things. Follow me on Twitter

comments powered by Disqus