NASA’s Nuclear-Powered Mars Rover Curiosity Essentially Has The Same Brain As A Bondi Blue iMac G3

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curiosity615

Here’s an interesting little factoid for you. The Curiosity rover — which landed last night on Mars, remote controlled by a team of NASA scientists armed with MacBook Pros — runs on a RAD750 radiation-hardened single board computer.

This computer, in turn, is based on the IBM PowerPC 750 CPU, which Intel first introduce on November 10, 1997. This CPU was used by Apple in many computers in the late 1990s, including the original iMac.

As one insightful redditor notes: “Curiosity is essentially a 2-CPU Power Macintosh G3 with some nifty peripherals and one HELL of a UPS.”

Source: Reddit

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8 responses to “NASA’s Nuclear-Powered Mars Rover Curiosity Essentially Has The Same Brain As A Bondi Blue iMac G3”

  1. goodevirginian says:

    Slight correction: the PowerPC product family was designed by IBM (not Intel) and manufactured by Motorola. Intel played no role in this product (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC)

  2. Michael O'Morah says:

    The New iGrok!

  3. Chuck Banas says:

    Hard to believe that the Deputy Editor of Cult of Mac thinks that Intel had anything to do with the PowerPC chip, which was of course an Apple/Motorola/IBM collaboration.

  4. johncoles says:

    I have one of those in my bedroom, the iMac not the Rover.

  5. James Barnette says:

    you would think that 250 million would at least get a MacPro’s guts in there. I mean even a modern Atom CPU would have been better.

  6. Tallest_Skil says:

    you would think that 250 million would at least get a MacPro’s guts in there. I mean even a modern Atom CPU would have been better.

    Except you can’t radiation-harden a computer of that nature for less than dozens of billions of dollars.

  7. digloo says:

    The PowerPC CPU was manufactured by Motorola for IBM, although I seem to recall that some other company build a rad-hardened version of it for military use (probably Rockwell). It was basically an RS6000-on-a-chip. Intel had nothing at all to do with it. How the heck can you guys not know that?

  8. tcarlson says:

    A much better post on this subject is at…

    http://www.lowendmac.com/lab/12lab/macs-in-space.html

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