The Martian Principles for Successful Enterprise Systems
20 Lessons Learned from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission
By Ronald Mak
Publisher: Wiley
Final Release Date: July 2006
Pages: 138

When you need to land and operate a robot on Mars, "halfway" software is not an option. While helping to develop the Collaborative Information Portal, or CIP, for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission, Ronald Mak identified and refined a set of principles that represent the fundamental goals necessary for any successful enterprise system. Following them, Mak's team developed a CIP that scientists, researchers, and engineers have been using continually for over two years to access data from two Martian rovers. Its uptime record—99.9%.

The principles are language and platform independent. They're not design patterns or code samples. They're not even rocket science. They just work.

Real-world examples from the Rover mission help you learn to:

  • Take advantage of what others have learned from their mistakes
  • Realize that clients may not know how to know what they want
  • Acknowledge that you aren't clairvoyant
  • Think like a user
  • Test, anticipate, be flexible, and keep it simple
  • Recognize that code integration is a greater challenge than code development
  • Become the successful architect of a successful system
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