Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 21st Nov 2004 00:51 UTC, submitted by Lumbergh
Geek stuff, sci-fi... And you think your operating system needs to be reliable. Check the interview here.
Permalink for comment
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
@2501
by Rayiner Hashem on Sun 21st Nov 2004 03:50 UTC

The choice of processor is explained in the article. Basically, to put a CPU into space, it has to be resistent to power surges caused by ambient radiation (little to no athmosphere to filter it out). Making radiation-hardened processors takes a long time, so the state of the art in radiation hardened processors is pretty old technology. The Mars Explorer mission actually used a 25MHz Rad6000, which is a CPU derived from the IBM POWER-1.

I don't really see what you're trying to say about the "myth" of a 4GHz P4. P4s certainly do run at 4GHz (well, 3.8 GHz or whatever is the top-rated part these days). The reason they can get away with such a slow CPU (the Rad6000 is 25-30 MIPS), is that it really doesn't need to do all that much work. It's a data collection machine --- processing is done back at NASA. So it basically just needs to move data around, buffer it while waiting for a transmission window, run control functions, etc.