[ExI] Why space tech isn't cutting edge

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Mon Nov 19 17:02:14 UTC 2012

On Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 4:21 PM, Dan wrote:
> Why is this news? I thought it was widely known that electronics on space
> missions is always several years behind what's being done elsewhere.

It is not just several years. It's more like 15 years behind.
You would expect long duration space missions to be several years
behind, but that's not the point.

Your ordinary pc chips can't just be sent up into space. The radiation
out there would cause them to deteriorate / malfunction quite quickly,
as the article explains. And no, wrapping them in tin foil doesn't

So the chips have to be specially hardened and protected by extra
years of development.
The problem gets worse as the density of modern chips increases.
The latest chips use 22nm and 32nm technology whereas the 486 used 800
and 1000nm technology. This means that every stray cosmic ray causes
much more damage in a modern chip.


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