A few days ago, I watched Perseverance being launched towards Mars.

I know that there is lots of very specific hardware embedded into the rover, so, very likely, there has been software written by NASA (or for NASA), to make measurements, communicate et cetera.

It would be very odd, to just have self-written software running this advanced technology - I guess there is some kind of operating system kernel being used to schedule tasks, manage resources and run all the software on the rover.

Which kind of kernel do they use? Is it some kind of RTOS or a Linux kernel?


1 Answer 1


It's running VxWorks, at least according to Wikipedia, and in fact there is a direct statement to this effect here (PDF link):

The M2020 flight software runs on the VxWorks operating system, and is written in C.

VxWorks is what pretty much all the US landers have run, and it's still, I think, the obvious choice: it's a very mature, very tested system.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How about the UAE Rover and the Chinese one then? $\endgroup$
    – Joe Jobs
    Aug 3, 2020 at 17:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JoeJobs: no idea, sorry. Probably not VxWorks in the case of the Chinese one, anyway. $\endgroup$
    – user21103
    Aug 3, 2020 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ Probably some different RTOS. $\endgroup$
    – RAD6000
    Aug 20, 2020 at 13:49

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