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Mars Rover Curiosity: Less Brainpower Than Apple's iPhone 5 256

Posted by timothy
from the when-I-was-a-boy-we-didn't-have-mars dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "To give the Mars Rover Curiosity the brains she needs to operate took 5 million lines of code. And while the Mars Science Laboratory team froze the code a year before the roaming laboratory landed on August 5, they kept sending software updates to the spacecraft during its 253-day, 352 million-mile flight. In its belly, Curiosity has two computers, a primary and a backup. Fun fact: Apple's iPhone 5 has more processing power than this one-eyed explorer. 'You're carrying more processing power in your pocket than Curiosity,' Ben Cichy, chief flight software engineer, told an audience at this year's MacWorld."
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Mars Rover Curiosity: Less Brainpower Than Apple's iPhone 5

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  • way back in 2008... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mschaffer (97223) on Friday February 01, 2013 @10:33PM (#42768387)

    Way back in 2008 most of the hardware and software development was complete, so it should be compared to the original iPhone or the iPhone 3G.

  • by Jeremi (14640) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @02:54AM (#42769621) Homepage

    Sure, the iPhone 5 may have more processing power... But I bet if you put that thing in space, the first cosmic ray that comes along will happily crash the OS. Game over.

    Yes, probably... but you could send up a dozen iPhone 5s in a box, all running the same software, set to auto-reboot-on-crash, and have the rover use whatever results the majority of the phones agree on. The iPhone RAIP array would be smaller, faster, and more reliable than what they are using now.

  • by aaronb1138 (2035478) on Saturday February 02, 2013 @05:57AM (#42770123)

    Indeed, I kept laughing at the MHz / GHz wars in the smartphone arena the last 18 months and couldn't help but nearly choke when I looked at solid integer / floating point performance and saw most of this wiz-bang 1 GHz Dual core stuff still getting stomped by stuff in the PII-450 / PIII-600 range (as I recall Atom started as more or less a process shrunk and trimmed down PIII with some of the Core series improvements and modularity grafted in).

    It's a little weird to consider how much I wish there was a popular Atom x86 based Android in the US. Seriously, running Android and doing ARM emulation, they still stomp the ARM stuff. I wish Intel marketing would have some of their late 90's spirit and push themselves into the US smartphone industry with slogans like, "faster than ARM... at running ARM." Mind you, I actually mostly hate Intel. Nothing to inspire hatred like their GPU driver mess on Windows and Linux.

    (From a year back) http://www.anandtech.com/show/5365/intels-medfield-atom-z2460-arrive-for-smartphones [anandtech.com]

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

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