Sip from the Firehose: February 18, 2004 - I'm crazy about Mars!

By: David Intersimone

Abstract: This edition of SipFH contains a Borland press release detailing the use of JBuilder to help the Mars Exploration Rover mission.

Sip From The Firehose
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Scotts Valley, CA

Have you been following the Mars Exploration Rover Mission since their launch and their successful landings? Have you been amazed by the pictures taken by the rovers? Did you worry about Spirit's problems? I have been glued, for weeks now, to the Nasa TV channel, the Mars Rovers web site, and network television. I have always been a space program fanatic since I was a kid. The Mars Rover successes have allowed me to join the other "kids" in the proverbial candy store. Now it can be told that there is a Borland connection to the Mars missions.

Borland JBuilder used to build Mars Rover Collaborative Information Portal

The following Borland press release details the use of Borland JBuilder to build parts of the Mars Exploration Rover mission's Collaborative Information Portal (CIP). Borland JBuilder was used because it met the requirements of developer productivity and support for Enterprise JavaBeans, Web Services and the BEA WebLogic application server.

    Borland Software Used in NASA Rovers' Search for Evidence that Water and Life Once Existed on Mars
    Borland Solutions Help Develop NASA's Collaborative Information Portal

    SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif.  February 18, 2004  Borland Software Corporation (Nasdaq NM: BORL) today announced that NASA used Borland solutions to quickly develop the Collaborative Information Portal (CIP) for the Mars Exploration Rovers mission. A long-term NASA research effort, this mission uses two robot geologists named Spirit and Opportunity to gather data from the surface of the red planet. By analyzing atmospheric, soil, and mineral samples from the Martian surface, the two rovers provide information on whether water and life were ever present on Mars.

    Borland solutions were used to develop the CIP infrastructure, which was built with Enterprise JavaBeans and Web Services. The CIP infrastructure provides data and images downloaded from Mars, along with personnel and event schedules, the current time in various earth and Mars time zones, and broadcast messages. CIP client applications are used by NASA scientists and researchers throughout the world, and by mission managers inside mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

    "We had less than two years to complete the CIP infrastructure, a primary component for getting both data from the Mars rovers and mission status information over to the scientists and into mission control." said Ronald Mak, senior scientist at the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science and CIP middleware architect for NASA. "The Collaborative Information Portal also participated in several operational readiness tests at JPL before the rovers landed on Mars. Increasing developer productivity was critical, and I looked for a development environment that supported Enterprise JavaBeans, Web Services, and the BEA. WebLogic. application server. The CIP infrastructure also interacts with backend data stores consisting of file servers and an Oracle Metadatabase, making integration key to the development process. The Borland solution delivered the interoperability that NASA needed, enabling us to deliver integral functionality within a very tight schedule."

    The massive amounts of data gathered by the rovers during their 90-day missions are transmitted via satellites from Mars, processed by ground-based software, and then stored on file servers at JPL. The Collaborative Information Portal enables NASA scientists and researchers to quickly retrieve this data for analysis according to various search criteria, such as file type and which rover instrument generated the data. Borland solutions had an important role in the development of this key software.

    Images captured by the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers, as well as details on their mission, can be found at: For more details on Borland solutions, see:

    About Borland

    Borland Software Corporation (Nasdaq NM: BORL) is a world leader in platform independent software development and deployment solutions that are designed to accelerate the entire application development lifecycle. By connecting managers, testers, designers, developers, and implementers in real time, Borland enables enterprises worldwide to define and sustain their competitive advantage. For more information, visit: or the Borland Developer Network at

    All Borland brands and products are trademarks or registered trademarks of Borland Software Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

Borland JBuilder and Mars Exploration Santa Cruz Sentinal newspaper article

Last Saturday, our Santa Cruz Sentinel local newspaper, ran a story detailing how Borland JBuilder was used to build the CIP. The headline and subhead of the article was "From Mars to Borland to you - Local company helps delve into Red Planets secrets". You can read the entire article at

Borland - Excellence Endures

David Intersimone
Vice President, Developer Relations and Chief Evangelist
Borland Software Corporation

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