Dell High Performance Computing Clusters Aid NASA and the Mars Rover Landing

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If you haven’t been following the Mars rover Curiosity landing that happened last night, I thought the Los Angeles Times did a good job covering it in this story about the landing itself and in this one that shows how it unfolded on Twitter. The Mars rover Curiosity landed safely last night.

Here’s more detail from our press release earlier today:

“Launched on Nov. 26, 2011, Curiosity landed on the Red Planet at 10:32 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Aug. 5, 2012 near the base of a mountain inside the Gale Crater near the Martian equator. Researchers plan to use Curiosity to study the mountain’s layers which hold evidence about the wet environments of early Mars and may hold clues about whether the planet ever offered conditions favorable for life. The rolling laboratory will search for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life.

JPL’s Dell HPC clusters, Galaxy and Nebula, provided vital support to NASA’s Curiosity rover in analyzing the vast amounts of test data needed to correctly prepare the rover for entering the Martian atmosphere and landing it on the planet. This difficult task was powered by Dell PowerEdge servers that make up the Galaxy and Nebula clusters. The final landing sequence parameters developed by the mission team, which was tested and validated using the Dell HPC clusters, were uploaded last week to Curiosity.”

Congratulations to the thousands of people at NASA who have been working for years to get this project off the ground. This is one of those things that I’m pumped to see that Dell was a part of. If you’re interested in keeping up with things related to this, NASA’s doing a great job keeping people informed throughout the landing and beyond.

Update: Here's Christine Fronczak's post on the High Performance Computing blog that discusses Dell's role in more detail.

NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) after the Curiosity landing

Above photo from NASA HQ’s Flickr Stream

Congrats again to the teams of people who worked a long time to make this a realty. If you know of any other good Mars rover Curiosity links I should include, let me know in the comments below or via @LionelatDell on Twitter.

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