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Two million lines of Mars Rover mission-critical code tested using static analysis

Coverity : 04 September, 2012  (Application Story)
It has emerged that NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has relied on Coverity to ensure the seamless touchdown and operation of the Curiosity Mars Rover, with two million lines of mission-critical flight software tested for defects.
Two million lines of Mars Rover mission-critical code tested using static analysis

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), builder of the Curiosity Rover, used Coverity static analysis to help ensure the reliability of the mission-critical flight software guiding the successful landing of Curiosity on Mars.

From the inception of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory mission, static analysis has been used by NASA JPL as a key part of the code review process to ensure the success of one of the most complex missions ever undertaken by NASA and the reliability of one of the most complex machines ever sent into space.

NASA Mars Rover uses Coverity software code testingNASA JPL developers use Coverity to test all of the software that controls the flight and onboard functions of the Curiosity Rover, over two million lines of code, to ensure that every software defect is found and fixed before launch. Curiosity is a car-sized Land Rover tasked with investigating whether Mars could have ever had environments conducive to life.

Given the mission-critical nature of Curiosity, the software powering the rover must be reliable and free of software defects. A single defect could mean the difference between success and failure of the $2.5 billion NASA mission and impair its ability to assess the possibility of life on Mars.

"The use of Coverity technology in mission-critical projects with zero tolerance for error is a testament to our unique ability to quickly detect unpredictable and traditionally hard to spot software defects," said Jennifer Johnson, VP of Marketing at Coverity. "We are honoured to have been able to contribute to this significant scientific achievement and help NASA unlock the secrets of potential life on Mars."

Coverity Static Analysis uses sophisticated analysis techniques for finding and eliminating hard-to-spot code defects early in the software development lifecycle, as the code is being written, when they are the easiest and least expensive to find and fix.

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