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Mars Rovers use PowerPCs


...which I found interesting. Also, no more redundant systems. The whole thing from one end to the other runs on a single processor.

http://makeashorterlink.com/?B1BA21D37

Dennis Atkins
Thursday, January 29, 2004

That explains all the reboots! http://news.google.com.au/news?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=utf-8&safe=off&q=mars+rovers+reboot&meta=&sa=N&tab=wn

;)

Matthew Lock
Thursday, January 29, 2004

The big advantage of PowerPC processors is that they use substantially less power than many alternatives, yet still generally faster than some other traditionally low-power-conumption CPUs, like the StrongARM.

This is why it looks like the PowerPC is going to be the CPU in the next generation video games consoles from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

Junkster
Friday, January 30, 2004

"This is why it looks like the PowerPC is going to be the CPU in the next generation video games consoles from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft."
--------------------
If the rumors are true, you're correct on all three counts.

As an FYI, the current-generation Nintendo console (the Gamecube) runs on a PowerPC chip, too.  :-)

The previous-generation Mars rover used one of the MIPS cpu cores, variations of which were also found in the Playstation1 and Nintendo64. 

Video game consoles: leading the way into space!  haha

John Rose
Friday, January 30, 2004

http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,62088,00.html

More information, including operating system involved etc.

Steve C.
Friday, January 30, 2004

I don't think there's actually that much choice in processors anyway.  It costs a lot of money to make any single chip long-lasting, rad-hardened, able to work in a vaccum without much cooling, etc. so they pretty much only have a few options.

Flamebait Sr.
Friday, January 30, 2004

Does a vacuum insulate from heat? I thought it just radiated off into the void. But I guess that's how the thermos works.

Tony Chang
Friday, January 30, 2004

But on the other hand it got awfully cold on Apollo 13 when they turned off the heaters.

Tony Chang
Friday, January 30, 2004

Whoa - hadn't thought about working in a vacuum - no convection to carry off the heat.  Interesting...

hoser
Friday, January 30, 2004

They actualy had to worry about the CPU getting too cold so it is always heated.  Night time temps can drop to -110C

http://en2.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Exploration_Rover_Mission#Power_and_electronic_systems

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/ask/about-rover/Keeping_Rover_Warm.txt

DJ
Friday, January 30, 2004

Right, I understand that, but Mars has an atmosphere so it's different. I think the issue is about the functioning of the CPU during the trip to Mars, during which it's in a vacuum.

Tony Chang
Friday, January 30, 2004

Cooling and heating are both problems in a vaccum.  You can't cool the processor very well with no atmosphere to transfer the heat.  Heating is a problem because, in the shade, space is very very cold.  It needs to work equally well in earth atmosphere as it does in space and as well in space as it does on mars. 

You have to make sure that there's not fun materials issues with the casing and circuit board.  If something outgasses in a vaccum and crumbles, that would be bad.  I'm not sure what all of the different fun things that can happen are, however.

Plus, you are talking about some fun amounts of radiation throughout the journey.  Although apparently it's not *quite* as bad as they thought these days.

Flamebait Sr.
Friday, January 30, 2004

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