Yes. Windows 98 is powering a Mars Spacecraft, which has been there for decades. The OS is finally showing signs of wear, and because of that, the spacecraft will be upgraded to new software to improve its performance. You may wonder why it hasn’t already been upgraded, and European Space Agency has a good answer.
MARSIS became popular for discovering the liquid water on Mard, the Red Planet. It is one of the oldest space aircraft that parted from earth almost 19 years back. When it departed, it was running a modified version of Windows 98 and was perfectly able to carry out its intended mission. Over the years, as computing advanced, the system began showing signs of weakening and inefficiency.
Why does Mars Spacecraft need a software upgrade?
“Previously, to study the most important features on Mars, and to study its moon Phobos, we relied on a complex technique that stored a lot of high-resolution data and filled up the instrument’s onboard memory very quickly,” said Andrea Cicchetti, Gizmodo reported. The new software upgrade will make the system more efficient in economizing memory usage and discarding unused data.
Once MARSIS receives its update, the ESS can switch it on for five times as long. MARSIS explores and tries to find new regions that contain water. Moreover, it captures and sends high-resolution photos of MARS back to the earth for further research. If you think why isn’t it running a newer OS build, it is simply because it doesn’t have to.
ESS will deploy new software on the MARSIS, which isn’t any version of Windows OS. It is a custom-made lightweight software that will add new features to the spacecraft. Think of the high-resolution photos it will send back to the earth now!