NASA’s Mars rover, Curiosity, landed safely on the Red Planet on Sunday, and Dell actually had a small hand in the mission. Boasted to be “considered the most complication portion of the mission,” the Round Rock, Texas-based corporation reports that the landing sequence was formulated by two NASA High Performance Computing (HPC) clusters running Dell PowerEdge servers.
Jere Carroll, general manager of civilian agencies at the Dell Federal unit, touted in prepared remarks that Dell’s involvement reflects “Dell’s mission to provide customers with a full spectrum of IT hardware and services, helping them to accomplish their mission more effectively and efficiently.”
Managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, the clusters, dubbed Galaxy and Nebula, provided support to the Curiosity rover for analyzing large amounts of mission test data needed to correctly prepare the rover for entering the atmosphere and landing it on Mars.
The final landing sequence parameters were developed by the mission team, which was tested and validated using the Dell-based HPC clusters. The whole sequence was uploaded last week to Curiosity.
For reference, Curiosity is also referred to as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), and it weighs nearly 2,000 pounds. It landed last night roughly 36 weeks after it left Earth.
Curiosity’s mission is to look for evidence as to whether or not life ever existed on the fourth planet from the Sun.