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Picture available: Colour thermal images, taken by the Mars Odyssey of the planet are available to accompany this story. Please contact swaddington@rainierco.co.uk for copies.


Wind River has played a critical role in helping NASA take another step towards interplanetary space exploration with its contribution to the Mars Odyssey mission.

Mars Odyssey, the latest NASA spacecraft to use Wind River technology, successfully entered orbit around the red planet on 24 October 2001 and took its first thermal infrared images of the Martian southern hemisphere on Halloween.

At present the Odyssey is orbiting Mars in an elliptical orbit every 18 hours and 30 minutes at an altitude of 128km (80 miles) at its closest point. At the farthest point Odyssey is orbiting at an altitude of 27,000km (17,000 miles).

The thermal images capture the polar carbon dioxide ice cap at a temperature of minus 120°C (minus 184°F) and show a wide angle view when the spacecraft was furthest away from the surface. The image was taken as part of the calibration process for the instrument and shows nigh time temperatures of Mars demonstrating the “night-vision” capabilities of the camera.

All aspects of the spacecraft are functioning as expected and in the coming weeks and months aero-braking manoeuvres will take place whereby the Odyssey will literally ‘surf’ the waves of the Martian atmosphere, bringing it out of the elliptical orbit to a circular orbit every 2 hours, at an altitude of approximately 400km (250miles).

Wind River’s technology resides in the primary computer of the Odyssey where the control, command and data transfer work is done.

The Mars Odyssey is one of several missions to Mars in which Wind River and NASA have collaborated. The company was previously involved with the development and successful deployment of the Mars Pathfinder mission, to name one, which landed on the surface of the red planet on 4 July 1997 and included the first commercial off-the-shelf operating system to be deployed in a mission to another planet through its use of Wind River’s VxWorks RTOS.




About Wind River

Wind River, www.windriver.com , is a worldwide leader in embedded software. Wind River provides software development tools, real-time operating systems, and advanced connectivity for use in products throughout the Internet, telecommunications and data communications, digital imaging, digital consumer electronics, networking, medical, computer peripherals, automotive, industrial automation and control, and aerospace/defense markets. Wind River is how smart things think. Founded in 1983, Wind River is headquartered in Alameda, California, with operations worldwide.


http://www/windriver.com

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