Well I am sure that some folks at NASA were beginning to think so yesterday,  when the main navigation computer system aboard the ISS crashed! Apparently it did the NASA version of a Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD).

So concerned were NASA about the situation they actually shut down some non essential equipment and put the Soyuz based escape capsule onto battery power. Although they are still trying to determine the exact cause of the failure it did coincide with work being done of a solar power array, which may have been the cause of the problem.

To maximize the manpower available to troubleshoot the issue the Shuttle will stay docked for an additional day. This also provides the ability to maneuver the Space Station should the Russian navigation and control computers continue to act up.

A NASA spokesman played down the severity of the problem, and said they are confident that the problem will get fixed.

NASA has a great track record with creating computer software, and so it is a rarity to see a piece fail. If my memory serves me correctly, Spirit and Opportunity (The Mars rovers) have been ‘re-booted’ about 3 times each in a period of 3 years (as opposed to my Windows system which seems to require re-booting 3 times a day!). Three years and not a single virus or a ‘Blue Screen Of Death’; yes, NASA has the ‘Write stuff’. 

Simon Barrett


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