[ExI] Why space tech isn't cutting edge
pharos at gmail.com
Mon Nov 19 13:05:35 UTC 2012
Interesting article about how hard it is to keep computers alive in space.
(Never mind humans!).
Did you know that after a special upgrade Shuttle flight the Hubble
system is now run by a 486 chip?
The fact of the matter is that even the most advanced chips up there
were considered obsolete ten years ago down here. Although it’s true
that in space no one can hear you scream, outer space is actually a
very noisy place, electromagnetically speaking.
Take NASA’s Curiosity rover, currently trundling across the Martian
surface. It uses a RAD750 computer from BAE Systems. The RAD750 is
based on the PowerPC 750 chip once found in Apple’s G3 iMac. That
machine debuted in 1997, but it took four more years for the RAD750 to
be released, and it didn’t see its first flight until 2005 when Deep
Impact was flung comet-ward.
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