Attention, Microsoft: It’s probably time to send a sales rep to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

A video by Boing Boing, showing NASA officials celebrating the historic landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars last night, provided a different type of curiosity for Windows watchers. Namely, why is the space agency still running an 11-year-old version of the Microsoft operating system?

It’s worth noting that this was filmed prior to a post-landing news conference, not in mission control, and the computer being used was for the presentation screen.

Certainly they’re not using Windows XP for any mission-critical systems. Right?

Previously on GeekWire: Curiosity packs the house for a perfect landing on MarsCuriosity lands on Mars, sends back its first images

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  • woody

    It looked to me like most of the laptops they were using were macs

  • Guest

    According to Wikipedia, NASA started work on this project around January 21, 2009, when Windows XP was still considered an acceptable operating system. It wasn’t feasible to upgrade in mid-project.

  • GTRoberts

    FWIW – I saw a few MBP but nearly all of the one’s I saw were running Windows 7.

  • Dannie McHugh

    Better than using vista

  • 509

    Mission critical applications require a stable operating system that works. That is more important than the latest and greatest hype. Do you want to push a software update to MARS???

    The Hubble telescope was running on a 486 chip!!

    Given all that. It is still surprising that JPL would be running XP.

  • J__M__M

    Dear Nasa, It’s obviously not broken so perhaps you should fix it.


  • Greg Wright

    “Certainly they’re not using Windows XP for any mission-critical systems. Right?”

    Let me help you with that, “Certainly they’re not using Windows for any mission-critical systems. Right?” :-)

  • Concept Your Self

    just tell that you are a apple user and we can accept your useless post as an gossip….

  • Stephen Medawar

    I’ll echo @2e777e0bb60f6ff4e2abb5e7f6ab733f:disqus.

    When I toured Mission Control in Houston, they answered questions from the geeks in the crowd and one person asked what software they run. The short answer is that they use the most stable software they can find and in some situations they are using software decades old simply because it works.
    They also said that they use many common-place consumer products when they can. For instance, they use XBOX controllers to control some vehicles and equipment in space. Their reasoning: millions of people have tested the controller, they are cheap and easy to replace, no provisioning/programming is needed to replace the device, and they use bluetooth and that’s easy to work with. Also, they have a low fail rate.

  • gmane88

    XP is the best technological invention since the birth of the personal computer..XP 4 Life B*tches!!!

  • AdamElteto

    I guess NASA, along with millions of Windows users, recognizes that XP is still the best Windows version. Why upgrade/fix/replace if it is not broken, right?

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