Mars Rover Curiosity’s Computer

Mars Rover Curiosity’s Computer (http://news.cnet.com)

The PowerPC RAD750 chip at the heart of the Curiosity Mars rover’s central computer can withstand temperature extremes and massive doses of space radiation without the dreaded ‘blue screen of death.

The radiation-hardened single-card computers, built by BAE Systems in Manassas, Va., are designed to withstand charged ions and protons in interplanetary space or on the surface of Mars that can physically damage integrated circuits or trigger so-called “bit flips” in which the logic of the computer can be temporarily, or even permanently, disrupted.

The RAD750s also meet lifetime dosage standards that are up to a million times more extreme than those considered fatal for a human being. As a result, over a 15-year period, the RAD750 chips aboard Curiosity would not be expected to suffer more than one external event requiring intervention from Earth. (Continue reading at http://news.cnet.com)

My Two Cents: The Mars Rover Curiosity’s Computer seems to be working very well. We will see how it does over time. This is a very exciting step in the exploration of Mars, and landing of heavy equipment there. Good job to NASA and the people that made this happen!

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