Debugging code running 100 million miles away

From Lisping at JPL:

Debugging a program running on a $100M piece of hardware that is 100 million miles away is an interesting experience. Having a read-eval-print loop running on the spacecraft proved invaluable in finding and fixing the problem.

The context of the quote was the author’s experience debugging Lisp software running on the Deep Space 1 spacecraft.

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3 thoughts on “Debugging code running 100 million miles away

  1. The part where he is asking a VP at Google to use Lisp instead of Java is interesting:

    Me: I’d like to talk to you about something…
    Him: Let me guess – you want to use Smalltalk.
    Me: Er, no…
    Him: Lisp?
    Me: Right.
    Him: No way.

  2. This is actually quite interesting. I wish I could come home from work at the end of the day and tell my wife “I debugged a spacecraft today.” Interesting work indeed.

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