Why Designing a Mars Rover Like Curiosity Just Got a Lot Easier By Tim Maly
MSL Rover NX CAD model

You’ve all seen the artist renditions. This is what Curiosity looks like to an engineer.

A few minutes into our interview last Thursday, I ask Tim Nichols, managing director of Global Aerospace, Defenses and Marine Industries at Siemens, if he was nervous about the Curiosity’s fate on Sunday. “Of course I am,” he says with a laugh, “We all know about missions to Mars — they’re complex.” None moreso than Curiosity’s elaborate landing sequence, designed to get the SUV-sized robot down safely.

He needn’t have worried. Late Sunday night, the rover successfully set down on the Martian landscape, overseen by a tense room of Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineers and watched by so many people here on Earth that all of NASA’s websites crashed. Like the rest of us, Nichols was glued to his screen. Unlike the rest of us, Nichols gets to say he had a hand in it. His company’s software designed Curiosity.

Curiosity is much larger than her unexpectedly long-lived predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. This meant that she couldn’t just land bundled inside airbags like the smaller rovers.

Instead, the mission executed a complex series of maneuvers to eject the robot from its capsule and lower it to the ground, via a rocket-powered sky crane in a sequence of events that NASA called the Seven Minutes of Terror.

Curiosity was designed by the JPL at the California Institute of Technology. When it came time to coordinate the enormous team of designers and engineers that built Curiosity, the capsule, and the sky crane, JPL turned to Siemens. They needed to design the robot (relatively) cheaply and they needed to design it fast — the launch window for missions to Mars comes once every two years. If you miss the deadline, there’s a long wait ahead.
MSL Capsule with Rover NX CAE thermal model

If you squint, you can see Curiosity and the sky crane folded up together in the capsule.

Luckily, Siemens had developed software suited to this sort of project. They call it Product Lifecycle Management (PLM).

One of the costliest parts of creating a new physical product is building and testing prototypes. With PLM’s robust suite of simulators and version tracking, you can avoid a lot of physical prototyping — saving both time and money, and speeding up the development process. In essence, PLM turns the physical engineering of a product into a process that looks more and more like designing code.

PLM runs on a laptop, connected to a central asset manager, called the Team Center. Engineers can check out parts of the project, work on their problems and assignments, and then check it back in to the main branch. This allows for a lot of concurrent design work. “In the past, engineering teams would be somewhat isolated by discipline,” says Nichols, “The overall leadership recognized that they needed to bring all the groups together.”

This is a far cry from past projects, which would be designed as a series of handoffs between teams. First the thermal profiles would be worked out, then the aerodynamics, on down the line. Propagating changes between teams could become a nightmare. PLM changed all of that, Nichols says, giving the team the ability to “compress the schedule and … do many more design iterations.”
MSL NX CAD Exploded view of seperation stages

With luck, this is the only exploded view of the Mars lander that we’ll ever see.

If this sounds a lot like software engineering, especially the open source variety, it’s because it is. There’s a version control system, the ability to check code in and out of the system, and a set of test suites that allow you check the performance of your part of the module in relation to the whole. By keeping the objects in software for as long as possible, you can treat them like software, with all of the speed and flexibility that this implies.

Nichols says their suite of tools has been used to design everything from golf clubs — “Golf clubs are pretty sophisticated, though they haven’t helped my game.” — to aircraft carriers. Looking ahead, he predicts an increasing incidence of distributed international teams of contributors working on a project.
“Global virtual collaboration and engineering is really the future,” he says. “We want to see more of that.”

But first, Curiosity had to make it to Mars. “We all have our fingers crossed,” he said on Thursday. You can uncross them now, Mr Nichols.

The Release of Large Menu Icons
Menu-Icons.com announces the release of Large Menu Icons, a royalty-free library of stock menu images for application developers and web designers. The new set includes 398 icons drawn in matching style, color and gamut. The Large Menu Icons collection sells for $49.00.

About Large Menu Icons

Large Menu Icons is the perfect choice for busy application and Web site developers. This collection of stock icons with matching properties such as style and colors, can be used in various projects and scripts, as well as on portals, blogs, forums, and web sites. Large Menu Icons will make an application, blog or applet look modern and consistent throughout. All icons in the Large Menu Icons collection are royalty-free. The entire collection is immediately available and comes with an online preview.

What's Inside

The Large Menu Icons collection contains images representing all sides of the application work. Some of the icons in the set are: open, close, edit, validate, time, clock, error, OK, data, computer, archive, people, user, girl, man, admin, horse, car and more.

Large Menu Icons

Technically, the set includes icons in a number of formats, sizes, color resolutions, and image styles. Every icon from the library comes in sizes of 16x16, 24x24, 32x32, 48x48 and 64x64 pixels. Normal, disabled, and highlighted versions are included for every icon. 256-color and semi-transparent True Color icons are supplied. Large Menu Icons are delivered in Windows Icon (ICO), Bitmap (BMP), GIF and PNG formats for instant integration into any systems. The entire Large Menu Icons collection is available for only $49.00. Source images are also available in SVG and AI formats for an additional payment.

Menu-Icons.com also plans to release a number of new original icon sets including Lumina Menu Icons, Windows Menu Icons, New Menu Icons, Cool Menu Icons, Win8 menu Icons, Vista Menu Icons, Mac Menu Icons, Android Tab Icons, Linux Menu Icons, Nokia Menu Icons, iPhone Menu Icons, Mobile Menu Icons.

About the Company

Menu-Icons.com offers thousands of icons in the most difficult small resolutions. PDA and mobile developers and designers can enhance their software with smooth, perfectly rendered icons in the most convenient resolutions. Menu-Icons.com are available in all sizes common to desktop and mobile applications for mobile phones, communicators, and desktop applications. All icons offered by Menu Icons are royalty-free, ready-made and instantly available.

Colour Depth is the Best Option for Making the Image Superb!
The colour depth is one of the most effective aspects of color presentation, and it has considered as numbers of colors bits. These colors bits have used for representing the colors in a single pixel through a bitmapped image or video. Also, this sort of concept is known as bits per pixel. Typically, when the colour depth specified with tons of bits used, so that higher colour depth offers a wide range of different colors.


Keep in mind that colour depth has used to explain almost all colors that are using in the picture. There are so many users using assortment colours depth like 4bit, 8bit, 12bit, 16 bit direct color. If you want to use these sorts of bits, then you need to collect more information about the colour depth. By using of maximum colour depth in the image, you can get superb and excellent printed images of your pictures. With low color depth, stored value is generally the number representing index in the color map and palette. Colors accessible in palette itself is fixed by hardware and modifiable within limits of a hardware (for example, both the color Macintosh systems or VGA equipped IBMPCs generally ran at 8bit because of limited VRAM, however whereas best VGA systems just offered the 18bit palette from that colors can be selected, all the color Macintosh hardware offered the 24bit (16million palette of color). The modifiable palettes are at times been referred as the pseudocolor palettes. As number of the bits increases, number of the possible colors gets impractically large for the color map. Thus, in the higher color depths, color value generally straight encodes relative brightnesses of RGB to specify the color in RGB color model.

Comparison of Vector Graphics Editors - Excellent for Uses
There are lots of vector graphics editors for several platforms exist. Probable users of these editors will make a decision based on factor. Some programs are excellent for artistic work while others are good for technical drawings. This application support different vector and bitmap image formats for import and export. Adobe firework is a vector editor which main purpose is to create graphics for web and screen. It supports RGB color scheme and has no support of CMYK. That means it is mostly used for screen designs. The firework is editable in PNG format. It is a less expensive product but its feature can be limited comparing to other products. It is easier to learn and can generate complex vector artworks. It can also open in several formats such as JPG, GIF, PNG, PSD, TIFF, AI and EPS. Adobe Flash is a vector editing tool which makes it easier for designers to use.


The Adobe FreeHand was used mainly by the professional graphic designers. Functionality of the FreeHand includes the flexibility of application in a wide design environment, and catering to output requirements of traditional image reproduction techniques and to print or digital media with the page layout abilities as well as text attribute controls. The specific functions of the FreeHand include superior image operation for the vector editing, the page layout features in multiple page documents as well as embedding custom settings (like variable screen specifications within single graphic and so on) to every document independent of the auxiliary printer drivers. The user operation is been considered more suited for the designers with artistic background when compared to the designers with technical background. While marketed, the FreeHand lacked promotional backing, PR support and development when compared to some other products.

Computer Graphics Needed to Get More Information!
As per the present scenario, the computer and computer pretend images can touch tons of aspects in our regular life. The computer imagery can be used in tons of important places like television, newspapers, surgical reports and medical investigation. As we know, a well designed graph can represent complete information through which people can understand the matter easily without any worries. The computer graphics are generating by computer in assortment segments like representations, manipulation of image data.


The expansion of computer graphics has allowed the computer users to interact easily and quickly. Also, this sort of graphic technology has a reflective impact on assortment media and it has made a revolution in movies, animation, and video game organization. There are numbers of users using various computer graphics such as 2D, 3D, 4D, 7D animated graphics. However, the technology has been developed in 3D computer graphics. So, this sort computer graphic has used by the users commonly. Term computer graphics is used in the broad sense for describing "almost everything on the computers, which is not sound or text ". Generally, term PC graphics generally refers to many different things:

  • Representation &manipulation of the image data by computer

  • Various technologies that are used to make &manipulate images

  • Images produced, and

  • Sub field of the computer science that studies methods for the synthesizing &manipulating visual content and study of the computer graphics. Now, the computers &computer generated pictures touch a lot of features of every day life. The computer imagery is also found on TV, in newspapers, example in the weather reports, and for instance in all types of the medical investigation as well as surgical procedures. The well constructed graph will present the complex statistics in form, which is simpler to know &interpret.

  • How to Design a Logo - Understand the Rules and Principles!
    Are you thinking about how to design a logo like software designer or professional? If you really want to design the logos, then you need to understand five steps which have offered by the professional logo designers. These five steps have discussed below.

  • Need to understand what is a logo and what is it representing

  • Also, get the rules of effective logo design

  • Consider others logo designs and using process

  • Advertise your own logo design

  • Understand the software technology and accomplish the task

    When you understand these points, you can start your complicated task easily. Before using the technology on your computer, you need to consider that your computer should support the logo apps. Subsequently, you can easily accomplish this sort of job. Keep in mind that options are opens, so that you can start this sort of job any moment of your life. Also, you should know that logos are having best options to fulfill requirements of your. Prior to you design the logo, you should understand what the logo is, what that represents also what it has to do. The logo is not only the mark –logo reflects the business’s commercial brand through use of the shape, colour, fonts, or images. The logo is to inspire e trust, recognition as well as admiration for the company and product also it is our job to make the logo that can do the job.


    One should know what the logo is prior to continuing. Now as you know what the logo is been supposed to do, what it must represent you and must learn what makes the good logo aka; basic rules or principles of the effective logo design. The simple logo design lets for simple recognition and allows logo to be very versatile and memorable.

  • Icon books - Showing the Right Ways to Beginners!
    The Icon Books have a small autonomous of the British publisher that got popularity in the thought provoking books. The company was established in year of 1991 by three partners like Richard Appignanesi who is the real editor of Beginners series as well as the author of Introducing Freud. At the same way, he has Introducing Existentialism, Introducing Postmodernism and other two partner of the company Jeremy Cox who is an author as well as Peter Pugh who is an author and also involved in book business. The first Beginners books of the Icon’s were launched at the Colletts bookshop that located at the Charing Cross Road in London. in March 1992. On the other hand, in the 1990s series was produced considerably starting the unique four, that was aging launched for the great approval at begin of 1999 by the new heading Introducing. However, 71 titles was introduce at the end of 2001.


     Icon publishes various books in the non-fiction. To have tended to publish in the series, like lists of the Postmodern Encounters, the Ideas in the Psychoanalysis as well as Revolutions in Science, now Icon is publishing more individual titles, like bestselling guide to Internet, Internet from A - Z and the critically acclaimed Euro

    The 2002 was exciting year for the Icon Books, decade the first Beginners books gone on sale. The six brand new titles, 2 fascinating Postmodern Encounters, and new books in Revolutions in Science in Psychoanalysis lists, and whole new series, offers and lots more. The 2003 promises being better! At 1994 Icon Books have signed the agreement with the Penguin Books, and the Penguin sold Icon’s titles in market of world except USA (where tIhe con trades as Books Totem) and Australasia.

    Icon Craft - Having the Opportunity to Create New Icons!
    If you are looking for powerful tool to create new and excellent icons, then you need to look for the Icon Craft tool. These days, this sort of tool has managed to draw more attention from those people who wants to create attractive and eye-catching icons for their desktop. It’s golden opportunity for you to download the Icon craft software on your desktop and use it for making quality and excellent icons to your desktop. Also, you can get icons which have designed by this sort of tool from online services provides. Before installing this sort of tool, you need to look for your system configuration. If your system’s configuration is perfect, then you need to download the software for creating excellent icons for your desktop. Also, you have the chance to make bigger the size of icons through this sort of tool. In this way, you have got all those facilities to create new and stylish icons for your desktop.


    The program is complete icon and cursor solution and edit icons and cursors in the color depths to 32bit True Color. Make static and animated cursors as well as other small images. You need to arrange icons, images and cursors in the libraries. Convert the icons and cursors to JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, PSD as well as WBMP formats, vice versa. Process the multiple icons one time and customize icons of different folders being distinguishable at the glance. Icon Craft gives various features, which will not be found in the standard graphics applications.

    The Icon Craft includes ability to import the icons from image, executables, as well as library files. Built in search and Extract function allows the busy artists scan through contents of the folder or drive and arrange all the images that are found in files in single icon library for simple and effective management. The his program features greatly improved editor, which gives you graphic artists many breakthrough features, that includes ability to make icons with many raster layers.

    Icon Editor - Get Easy Interface with Computer!
    These days, the   icon editor is a powerful tool through which designers can create high quality icons for Mac, Linux, Windows operating system, and Iphone. The utilization process of this sort of tool is very simple, so that you can create the icons through this sort of icon editor tool. Also, the designers are creating the native Windows and Mac operating system icons in ICO format and ICNS format respectively. The icons which have been designed through this sort of tool are available in assortment shape and sizes at online media. This sort of tool can make good quality icons with putting assortment excellent features through which users are getting right functionality on the computer. It is the right option for all users to make a smoother interface with the computers. Now, you need to move for the online media and get the option to download this sort of icon editor tool.


    Icon editor make or edit the icons in standard and custom sizes, and in the color depths to sixteen million colors. The standard icon sizes are 48x48, 16x16, 32x32, that includes Radial Gradient, Linear Gradient, WAV, 3D Shadow, Rectangular Gradient, Text Gradient Effects, 3D Button, Arbitrary Rotation, Noise, make icons with the preset sizes, make use of the dynamic transparent colors, make cursors with the free hotspots, view Animated Cursors, create, extract some icon from file and folder, and paste images from the clipboard, choose areas for the Import from .jpg, .bmp, .wmf and .gif, images, Drag or Drop the files for editing, redo steps and unlimited undo, support the multi-language interface. The Icon Editor will edit or make the icons, animated cursors and cursors – making use of common editing tools or effects, then import the icons from files and images, as well as export icons in the custom size or color depth.

    Computer Icon - Important to have a Better Interface!
    The computer icon is a small pictorial representation that is required for the graphical user interfaces and to enhance the appearance of textual information for the user. In case of advanced and latest designs of computer can manage the bitmapped graphics easily, so the user can vastly use the icons designs for their various works. The icons designs were firstly introduced as the shortcut tools to make the computer interfaces much easier and faster during the 1970s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. However, the Icon-driven were more developed as well as popularized by the Amiga, and the Apple Macintosh at the environments of Microsoft Windows operating arena. Basically, the computer icons designs range are available from the 16 by 16 pixels to 128 by 128 pixels according to the user’s requirement. However, some OS features of the icons were available up to 512 by 512 pixels for some particular operation.


    All the applications, even most specialized ones, now have a lot to do with operating systems as well as computers that they work on. Whereas there are quite lots of program specific elements, user interfaces have the multitude of the common elements. In case, you are the developer of the computer associated applications – whether it is file managers, Personal Finance tools or media players - you require the quality interface icons for the existing and the upcoming products. Making them on the own needs corresponding skills as well as great deal of the time that you might not necessarily have, particularly while trying to meet the fast release DeadLine. In this particular case, making use of the set of 3rd party custom icons from the professional developers are the perfect solution of delicate problem. In case, you are seeking the universal set of the icons for the applications of different kinds, ensure to check Small Computer Icons!

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