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  • The Perseverance rover runs on processors used in iMacs in the 1990s

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems macOS The Perseverance rover runs on processors used in iMacs in the 1990s

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      • #2347508
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        A 1990s iMac Processor Powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover

        NASA’s rover Perseverance, which reached the Red Planet on February 18, is powered by the PowerPC 750 processor, the same chip that is inside the iconic 1998 iMac G3 (which is also being used in the Curiosity rover)…

        • This topic was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Alex5723.
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      • #2347555
        anonymous
        Guest

        ? says:

        cool! and the mini-chopper Ingenuity uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 / Linux os…

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingenuity_(helicopter)

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2347629
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        One other reason, besides the one explained in the article linked by Alex, is that it takes often several years, sometimes a decade or longer, to put together a space mission and to take the hardware, in particular, from being designed to ready-to-launch. Any changes at a later stage in the hardware has to pass a number of revisions to get approved, and that takes quite a while in itself.  Even a small thing, such as replacing one cable with a longer one, for example (personal experience). So “old-fashioned” hardware, computer one in particular, is often flown in missions just because of this.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2347635
        anonymous
        Guest

        The main reason not in the article is government uses old technology since new stuff cost to much. Just like Xp machines are still in use. Or the old 1960’s COBAL computers that are still in use to today and requires old tech people to fix since new tech people are lost at where to use a cap or tube to repair it. Or the punch card computers that are still in use to avoid being hacked.

        • #2347659
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          The main reason not in the article is government uses old technology since new stuff cost to much. Just like Xp machines are still in use.

          True enough of the government in general, but not really the case with how NASA missions, or military ones, are equipped. NASA’s missions usually cost between several hundreds of millions and several thousands of millions of dollars to equip, launch, control, monitor and maintain remotely, often for several years, and also to fund the grants for any scientific research, both conducted in-house and at universities, that might be made based on data gathered with the spacecraft. The cost of things like chips, regardless of design, or of being made radiation-resistant, is nothing compared to the overall cost of such missions, in particular one that involves sending — and then landing intact there — a car-sized rover to Mars.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2347683
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        since new stuff cost to much.

        The Power-Pc 750 in the Rover cost $200,000.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2347697
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          References please Alex.

          cheers, Paul

          • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Paul T.
      • #2347704
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        To amplify on a previous point I’ve made:

        The computer that controls the operation of this rover, for example, is highly mission-critical. Very likely there are several backups of it in the rover, to replace it in case of an unrecoverable failure. Furthermore, if for something this critical there is already hardware that meets mission requirements and is also known to work well, having been used successfully in previous missions (and, therefore, has also won the all important “space qualified” designation), it is likely to be used again in similar subsequent missions.

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

      • #2347721
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        References please Alex.

        cheers, Paul

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Paul T.

        However, there’s a major difference between the iMac’s CPU and the one inside the Perseverance rover. BAE Systems manufactures the radiation-hardened version of the PowerPC 750, dubbed RAD750, which can withstand 200,000 to 1,000,000 Rads and temperatures between −55 and 125 degrees Celsius (-67 and 257 degrees Fahrenheit). Mars doesn’t have the same type of atmosphere as Earth, which protects us from the the sun’s rays, so one flash of sunlight and it’s all over for the Mars rover before its adventure can begin. Each one costs more than $200,000, so some extra protection is necessary.

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #2347792
          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Yep, it’s very hard on electronics out in space and on Mars too.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #2347808
            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Charlie, “Yep, it’s very hard on electronics out in space and on Mars too.

            True enough: This is the reason for using expensive radiation-hardened electronics.

            Mars very thin atmosphere and lack of a strong global dipolar magnetic field like Earth’s (i.e. a global one with one North and one South magnetic poles), hardly shields anything on its surface from the hard cosmic radiation coming from the Sun and from distant regions of the Comos (hence its name), that is almost as serious a hazard there as in outer space. Mars only has several localized and weak magnetic fields, with many poles, that extend over limited areas and are what is called “magnetic anomalies”, possible the remnants of a primeval field like Earth’s that eventually got turned off for reasons not yet clearly understood.

            By the way, a description of the magnetic field of Mars — and a lot of other interesting facts about this planet, that I think people who are interested in this new rover’s mission might like to read about — can be found here:

            https://phys.org/news/2015-12-mars-earth.html

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group W (ex B) & macOS Mojave + Linux (Mint)

            2 users thanked author for this post.
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