If anybody would tell you nowadays that he’s using Windows 98 on his laptop, you will probably call him crazy. Pretty much everybody nowadays is leaving no stone unturned in upgrading to either Windows 11 or at least Windows 10.
Even so, a space probe might not need anything more onboard than what the 24-year-old operating system Windows 98 can do. That was also the case for the Mars Express probe of the European Space Agency until recently, but it won’t be anymore.
MARSIS has always been using Windows 98-supported software
According to The Verge, the Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionospheric Sounding (MARSIS) tool that’s mounted on the Mars Express spacecraft will finally get an upgrade for its Windows 98-supported software. The software upgrade will be very beneficial, as it will allow the spacecraft to improve the quality of data that is being sent back to Earth.
Andrea Cicchetti, who’s a MARSIS operation manager at INAF, stated as The Verge quotes:
By discarding data that we don’t need, the new software allows us to switch MARSIS on for five times as long and explore a much larger area with each pass,
The new software will help us more quickly and extensively study these regions in high resolution and confirm whether they are home to new sources of water on Mars. It really is like having a brand new instrument on board Mars Express almost 20 years after launch.
Judging by its name, you might have already guessed what the Mars Express probe of the ESA is all about. It has the mission to study our neighboring planet Mars, especially its lower layers while looking for signs of any life forms. Hopefully, the new software update will provide some help.