Your Cellphone May be Smarter Than Mars Science Lab

Keith's note: NASA JPL Employee @doug_ellison recently tweeted "Based on some MIPS benchmarks, and the RAD750 cpu on iPhone 4S is 12x more powerful than Curiosity."

Gee ... NASA is always bragging about all of the advanced gizmos they have (justifiably) - but they never talk about how outdated some of their things are - and why. Among other things, the reasons why old stuff is used have to do with the brutal nature of the space environment (and what will reliably "work"). But the reasons also have to do with NASA's slow-motion design practices and mission delays due to self-induced cost overruns.

Then again, my toaster is much smarter than Voyagers 1 and 2 (together) and yet they will both last far longer - and JPL wizards keep updating their apps and OS as they enter interstellar space - 35 years on. That said, NASA probably flies yesterday's technology a bit more often than it should. Gotta work on that, NASA. Maybe that $700 million in the FY 2013 budget for "technology" will give that process a kick start.

Hmm ... cellphones smarter than Mars robots. Why isn't NASA putting cellphones inside of spacecraft? Just wrap them in Lead.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 18, 2012 12:22 AM.

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