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 16×16, 24×24, 32×32, 48×48 and 64×64 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.

Creating Icons – Make a Preparation for Downloading It!

At present, everyone wants to stay flexible with their computer that means everyone wants to work easily and quickly through their computers. Due to such reason, the icons are playing vital role to make the interface smoother in between the user and computers. These days, numbers of advance icons creating technologies have been evolved through which software designers can create the icons as per the customer requirements. If you want to design the icons in yourself, then you have the good chance to select the creating icons tools. Through this sort of tool you can design the icons in assortment formats. Today, the creating icons tools has the managed the leading position for designing the cool icons with putting great features. It’s time to decide for downloading the creating icons tools from the online media. Also, you can get the free version of this sort of tools from the online.


You may very easily make the custom icon for the website, which can display in the visitors’ “Favorite Places.” Your icon may automatically get created in preferences that you specify. The Internet Explorer wants that the icon is 16 x 16 pixels and in case, it is not, then can be ignored. You are now set to start an actual design procedure. Large window, which has all squares is the icon canvas. Every square represents the pixel and are edited to suit to your needs. There are 2 tricks for making the icons to work on various backgrounds. First is cleaning up any unnecessary pixels from outside of the image. Make use of layer mask for hiding these needless pixels. Second trick is to apply the neutral color as the background matte while you save image for the web.

Toolbar icons – Available in Individual and Complete Packages!

You have accomplished more than the half task if you have added quality or eye catching toolbar icons for your web portal. Adding such toolbar icons can provide you great result if you really want to promote your online business with a better approach. Every time toolbar icons are plays a great role while we try to create the software’s real image. You should keep in mind that icons are the first and most important things when you try to enter into the application. For most of the web application maker, adding the toolbar icons is the main thing to do. These sorts of icons can provide a good look for the whole thing and at the same time user feel more convenient on the use. Now you can avail these toolbar icons in individual or complete package as per your requirement. These icons are also coming in four file formats and two color depths.


Tired of the Boring Toolbars Icons? Liven up this word workplace with attractive set of the colored Toolbar icons. Complete collection generally comes with three full color toolbars that is filled with the icons. It includes complete set of the toolbars — colored equivalent for standard command or function. Make use of them to liven up the templates, presentations, and other Word documents. Improve the productivity as well as save some time by very easily spotting the specific command, function ir macro, on a toolbar. The sample icons that were included with download FREE. Try that now! Icons composing the set are designed exclusively in 32Pixels for the application‘s toolbars or web sites buttons and links, and whatever you can find the use for them. The pack also includes 39 icons in TIFF, PNG, ICNS, and ICO formats, Mac or Windows compatible, the 32×32 dimensions only.

Perfect Bank Icons – Suitable for Accounting Work!

If you want to increase your accounting software with slick and excellent design icons, then you need to look for the perfect bank icons. At present, these sorts of icons are coming to the market in hundred images of multiple banking items and accounting. Also, these icons are having nice graphics and uniform style. The perfect bank icons have deigned through multiple states, formats, and resolutions. Also, these sorts of icons are available in assortment sizes with 256 colors variations. However, the computer users are selecting only these sorts of perfect bank icons like 16×16, to 48×48. Now, there are assortment ways available through which you can get these sorts icons cheaply and easily. Before using these sorts of icons you need to consider that perfect bank icons can fulfill your requirements. Keep in mind that perfect bank icons are coming in three states such as highlighted, disabled and normal.


Enhance the accounting package and banking software with the appealing graphics. The Perfect Bank Icons also represent many concepts as well as symbols that are related to banking and accounting, that includes currencies, files, financial symbols, percentage points, customers, and others. More than hundred icons that are accessible for the instant preview or immediate purchase. The Perfect Bank Icons are accessible what you can see is what you will get fashion. Set also includes over the hundred matching icons in the multiple formats, color resolutions, sizes, as well as states. Every icon from the Perfect Bank Icons comes in disabled, normal, as well as highlighted styles, as well as is accessible in the 256 color as well as semi transparent Color format. All the icons also come in the resolutions of 20×20, 16×16, 48×48 and 24×24, 32×32 Pixels, also are supplied in BMP, ICO, GIF as well as PNG formats.

Icons Windows 7 – Amazing to Use the Icons!

It’s amazing to use the icons of windows 7 in the system. The windows 7 icons are having amazing features, cool looks with great functionality. Also, these icons are available in ICO and PNG formats. So, you can easily use it in your system. With these icons you can get numbers of benefits through which you can get a satisfactory result. It’s time to move for the online media and get the samples of windows 7 icons for using in the desktop. In this way, you can get real experience of using the windows 7 icons. These days, the Windows 7 icons are available in assortment designs and colors. So, you have the option to select the best icons for your desktop. Also, you can select those icons which are relating your professional works. The windows 7 icons are the best options to decorate the desktop successfully. It is the best time to move for online media and download the icons samples.


Thus, in case we begin about use of windows 7 icons than a word is enough and it is we make use of windows 7 icons in all over the place. It is been used to present all kinds of options as well as programs. In modern days various special windows 7 icons are willingly available in market as well as simple to make by person who is used to denote service and options. Main objective behind use is saving time for computing. It is because you don’t have to read menu. Watch icon as well as subsequently you can identify what the icon represents. For instance, in standard toolbar you will see there is not any writing such as save, file, print and so on. Instead we see windows 7 icons that represent file, save, and print options. You can also decorate your desktop with help of these icons and this is one of the best option that you have with you. This will really help in your work and you can do whatever you want to with help of these icons of yoru desktop.

Icon Converter, Attain Brilliant and High Quality Icons, by Using this New and Advanced Software!

Create attractive windows with sib icon converter. It is made of high quality material. You can use it to create a variety of icons from screen captures. When you have it, splitting icon libraries into icon files is easy. You can use it to converter Mac icons into different window formats.

If you need appealing images, use the converter. With this software, you can convert several files at the same time. You can use it to convert your favorite photos into icons. It gives you the chance to create customized icons. It is software, which can highly help you create your own images. You can change the size and color resolutions of the icons. For different graphic formats, use the converter. By using it, you can create images of different sizes. The software works efficiently and effectively. For comfort and convenience, make use of the tool. Achieve standard looking icons by using this new advanced software. If you are building a website, you can use the converter.


The converter is fast and simple to use. You can use it edit icons. It is software, which is easy to manage. Use it to create your desired icons. By using it, be assured of getting satisfying results. Replace all the default files by using this software. You can use the sib icons converter to create an email and accounting software. It is remarkable software, that many have used and the results are amazing. Use the converter to paste bitmaps from the clipboard. You can use the software to import folders and files from the explorer.

You can carry out different tasks using the converter. Instead of using low quality converter, which may not give you satisfying results, use the new and advanced software. For all your software projects, make use of it. If you need realistic styles of creating well-styled icons, use it. Convert different internet images into icons. You can use the converted icons in other applications of your computer. For the best presentation of icons, use the software.

Sib icon converter has all the features and qualities. It allows you to attain your favorite icon formats. Change the appearance of your desktop by using the converter. For you to create aesthetically appealing icons, use the new software. It works systematically to ensure that you get the best results. If you need a flexible and reliable tool, use the software.

For neat looking icons, use the sib icon converter. It is Software, which serves you conveniently. The converter is perfect if you want to tweak your system in a more sophisticated manner. You can attain brilliant looking icons by using the converter. It works effortlessly giving you exceptional results.
Modify all your icons now using the converter. The tool is the best for creating stunning images. Convert your icons and experience full browsing. Use it to create fresh looking icons. It is software, which has numerous features. Create impressing icons using the sib icon converter

Logic Menu Icons – Versatile Icon Pack!

These days, almost every user has preferred to the logic menu icons. These icons are available in versatile icon pack and contain of over 1000 dazzling icons and 16000 in icons variations. These are available in four picture formats such as BMP, ICO, GIF, and PNG. Also, these icons are available in assortment sizes and shapes like 16×16 to 48×48. In this logic menu icon pack you can get different types of professional and social media icon themes such database, accounting, finances, health care, business, money, multimedia, system security, Internet, dating, and science. One of the best benefits of these logic menu icons is having transparent backgrounds. These sorts of icons have come to market in three segments such as hot, normal, and disabled, and it is the right option to create dazzling icons without using the graphic editor tools. Also, these sorts of icons are offering some great features towards the system’s desktop. If you want these sorts of icons, then you need to move for the online media and get all information about it.


Extracting the icon images from programs, files, libraries as well as Internet has not been very simple. No matter whether you are the Web developer as well as need all of the icon images that are maintained in the single library, and the computer enthusiast making the big collection of the logic menu icons, thus you require the software to automate process to extract as well as storing the icon images. The Icon Extractor is the tool that you were searching for! With the Icon Extractor, you will pull the icons from the individual files, folders, and whole hard drives fast as well as easily, making the dedicated logic menu icons libraries and storing every icon as the separate file. The extract images from all over the place, that includes CUR, ICO, ICL, ANI, EXE, IL, DLL, SCR, RES, OCX, NIL, DCR, DPL, VBX, BPL as well as other formats, which might have the icon images. Even though the files are been compressed in ZIP and RAR archive, Icon Extractor can still get them!

Standard Icons – Making the Task Easier!

Choosing the right icons is always a major task before the users! There are various options available through which the users can easily get confuse to select their right one according their requirements. In this regard, the standard icons are right option both for the server and desktop users. Standard icons are having the wide collection of the attractive and useful icons.

  • On the other hand, its download process is much simple that one can easily do it through the mentioned guide lines. In most of the cases, users are never successfully operating their icons due to their wrong download process.
  • However, in case of standard icons the users have never faced such types of problem to collect their well shape as well as attractive icons. Standard icons have availed in wide range of icons collectionfor every requirement, so you can save both your money and time by choose the complete segments of standard icons.


Replacing the standard folder as well as file type standard icons is simple from within Icon Extractor. Windows Vista has also introduced the new format of the standard icons images. Slick, big 256 x 256 images are been used in the Vista icons. And no standard icons extractor can get those without to be modified for the Vista compatibility. The Icon Extractor completely supports new Vista format, to get you entire set of the icon images while you extract the images from the Vista compatible files! The windows has the great a lot of icon images, however Mac is the whole new world. The extract standard icons images from the Mac applications as well as Mac OS files as very easily! The enhanced with the Mac icon images, Windows desktop is best on a block. The Icon Extractor is not at all limited to extracting the icon images from the files that are stored on the local hard disks. It will connect to Internet as well as grab standard icons images from all over there!

Perfect Security Icons – Much Important For Users!

Today, computer security is much essential for both the personal and commercial users to maintain their privacy as well as avoid outside interference. In this regard, the perfect security icons are the right option for users because it’s a huge collection of security related software menu icons and toolbar icons. You can purchase more than 206 unique perfect security icons to download on your desktop. Each icon is available in numbers of formats, resolutions and sizes that require for different application. You can find three states of icons like normal, highlighted and disabled and various sizes like 16×16, 20×20, 24×24, 32×32, and 48×48 according to the user requirement. All the icons of the perfect security icons are available in several formats such as: ICO, GIF, PNG and BMP. On the other hand, you can get the total 134 perfect security icons in just $ 49.95 according to your various requirements.


Perfect Security Icons is collection of the royalty stock icons for the use in the commercial or personal products, which includes websites, software applications, blogs as well as presentations. Icons also are very carefully made by every pixel by professional artists. Also, they shine with the bright palette of the colors, Smooth or rounded edges. Best in the quality, icons can help the developer for placing the truly expert feel to the project’s Interfaces without any need to hire the designer and spend days or weeks to design the icons on own. The web products as well as security software may look Modern as well as attractive with the Security Icons. The color formats include 8-bit formats and Windows XP. Accessible sizes are 24×24, 32×32, 16×16, 20×20, as well as 48×48. The icon set also includes safety related icons: firewall, signature, login, guard, shield, Lock, key, card file and many more. See the icons prior to placing the order and security icons are available as the full size previews on Perfect Icons site.