Curiositys computer – slow but tough

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Curiosity’s computer is five times slower than your mobile. But tougher computer may be looking for.

In space there is no data technician. So when Mars robot Curiosity driving around and exploring the planet of the computer does all the time, and in an environment that would bloom most standard computers in an instant.

However, they are slow by today’s standards – about five times slower than a modern pekmobil, but it can withstand radiation doses of 100 000 line. By comparison, people are becoming acute radiation sickness even at doses of a few hundred range.

Motherboard of Computer Using RAD 750

The radiation makes it to the computer as a few charged particles can beat off thousands of electrons and create the wrong signals or destroy the electronics completely.

The choice of materials and shielding has Curiositys computer therefore made so durable that it expected to happen which will require action from the Earth only once in fifteen years of operation. For safety, there are also two computers, but only one is used at a time.

The computer is called RAD750 and is a single-board computer developed by defense giant BAE Systems. The model, launched in 2001 and launched into space the first time in 2005, is popular in aerospace and sits today in more than 150 spacecraft and satellites.

The processor is based on IBM’s Power PC 750, known from the Mac world as G3 which was sitting in Apple’s computers in the late 90’s. The clock frequency is also approximately the same as in those days – 200 MHz – while today’s computers is approaching three gigahertz.

The internal memory of March The computer is a modest 256 megabytes, and instead of hard drive it has a flash memory of two gigabytes – as a small usb stick.

It does not fit all that Curiosity will need during their lifetime, and therefore changed the software gradually out of the earth. After landing, deleted the software for space travel and landing and then started the broadcasting of programs for ground operation and control of robotic arms, tools and analysis tools – a process that takes several days.

Some top-end performance, it is not involved, but the extreme reliability costs – the one who wants a RAD750 will pay between one and three million.

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