The PowerPC was not an Apple product, made by Motorola or IBM. Apple chose to use it.
It's a bit sturdier than the average Apple product, but the Curiosity rover that touched down on Mars on Monday is powered by the same processor family used in Apple's 1997 PowerBook G3 laptop. For its nuclear-powered life-hunting tank, NASA chose a 200MHz PowerPC 750 CPU specifically hardened to withstand radiation and space …
Yes but it's another case of a misleading headline, making a tenuous link to Apple to appear to give them credit, whilst leaving the true details buried in the text. It means people who see this headline in the front page or "popular" topics will be misled, if they aren't interested enough to read the full article. It's bad enough the endless such-and-such "done with an Iphone", when when the use of a phone is the least important part of the process - now we have references where it isn't even anything to do with Apple in the first place.
"The PowerPC was not an Apple product, made by Motorola or IBM"
Lets read the article again...
"is powered by the same processor family used in Apple's 1997 PowerBook G3 laptop."
I don't see anything about the processor being an Apple product. It only says "used" by Apple in a 15yo laptop
It only says "used" by Apple in a 15yo laptop» And this reference, while no doubt pleasing to the fanboi contingent, is completely irrelevant to the subject of the article, which is the point made above by several commentators. Shouldn't be all that difficult to understand, with careful study and application....
Anna Leach is on trolling league of her own, she's the one that article after article, almost without fail, makes me want to give up reading The Register. I've even written a regexp that blocks ads just on her articles so that El area gets no financial compensation from me reading this rubbish.
In this single article she manages to insult the teams who created the rover and the PowerPC 750, but not satisfied with that troll then brings up the PowerBook 6300 for no good reason instead of mentioning machines that actually had the PowerPC 750...
I guess it depends on how you read whether you have "Must hate Apple" glasses on, but I really didn't see any of what you saw. No, I am not an apologist - I don't particularly care enough for Apple or any other computer manufacturer to get angry about trivial things like a humorous article.
Some of you need to step back from the monitor and chill out for 10 minutes, instead of bashing the keyboard in anger. If there is one site that does not particularly care for Apple in its reporting, it's the reg.
> I guess it depends on how you read whether you have "Must hate Apple" glasses
This kind of mindless pointless over-hyping by the media is where that "must hate Apple" attitude comes from.
This situation had exactly SQUAT to do with Apple but some fanboy had to associate them with a project they really had nothing to do with.
I have to agree with you, why Apple even mentioned is realy not the direction of things anybody wants, even Apple.
What next reports that Peter and Jane are huge Apple fans who went back in time to brainwash us via there cunning maths questions!
Had the article highighted that the issues in space mean that you cant just use off the shelf CPU's and bung them into a lead casing and looked at the issues in more detail, that would of been a good read. Had it gone and linked the programming standards and the like involved and a bit of details about the code and how all this runs on less CPU power than a 10 years old mobile phone then that would of been a little bit more suitable.
But no, somebody had to mention Apple and highjack there own article, thats our job as and when you do that in the article then you leave us with no choice but to call you out on it :p.
http://lars-lab.jpl.nasa.gov/JPL_Coding_Standard_C.pdf <---JPL's programming standard used to code the code that is running on Mars as we speak. Now that is a worthy read and no Apples involved.
Maybe she thought all bright sparks avidly reading everything about this would've read the article yesterday stating which computer was actually being used? Or be bright enough to realise before even reading her article that she may have been being humorous? Guess that's not permitted by all you fanboys - sad, humourless gits the lot of you. Piss off and read NASA's page instead, saddos ...
But no commenter suggests that an article called "A Xerox laserprinter on wheels" would sound better?
Apple used this processor for personal computing and to my knowing no other brand. Therefore it's a funny comparison with enough technical and historical connection to be meaningful. The Apple hate seems a bit over the top here and that is said my someone who doesn't even like Apple anymore.
I found the Apple link extremely tenuous, personally. But then, given the author's previous articles:
It's hardly surprising. Every other one is about Apple in some form or another.
I know we all have preferences, and those preferences creep through into articles, but we can stop the really gratuitous examples of trying to equate a NASA Mars landing and Apple somehow. Hell, even if they'd just compared it to, say, a modern laptop (brand name not required) and explained that "even Apple used similar chips historically" would have been enough.
I count three "Apple"'s, three "PowerBook"'s, one "MacBook" and one "iPod", in an article about something where there is ZERO Apple hardware or business connection. That's excessive for a six paragraph article.
Yeah, I hear the PowerPC is used in automotive systems all over the place but they are all slightly different, in the sense that some opcodes may be missing (or have been added) and bus width and I/O signals may differ, causing demand for integrated systems developers.
It's even in the F-35.
at least this "article" actualy managed to mention that there are two of these creaky old cpu's/pc's on board,others not even mentioned that rather important fact,although if it had been me in charge,with what must be a very small package i would have fitted 4 of em.
p.s if anyone knows anyone at nasa working on next planetary mission,i have a couple of OLD htc kaiser/tytn2 mobiles i can sell them,cheap,at only half the price of what they just paid for those two bae packs,will even wrap up in gold foil etc if they want,i still reckon i could retire very comfortably even at only half price !!.
anyone know overall cost for the two packs on curiousity,fitted.
$5m -$15m? ? each. lets play guess the price until a nasa accountant ruins the game.
Two is actually a silly number for failover. It's not enough to provide much long-term security.
Four is worse, though, than three when it comes to simultaneous operation and checking of results. What they should do is run an odd number that's *AT LEAST* three and then take the "majority" opinion like an awful lot of avionics does. That way, you can at least spot a majority. With four, if any two share a common path that the others don't (e.g. a power line on one side of the board) and that fails, you get a 50-50 problem where you have no idea which ones are wrong.
But if I was designing failover for, say, a server BIOS then two is about right. It's something I never expect to happen but when it does I can start replacing the board while it's still working. For anything more critical, and in such a harsh environment though, I'd have more failover/backup chips. Hell, give me 200 1MHz chips rather than 1 200MHz chip any day, in those circumstances.
I'm always disappointed, though. The only Mars mission I *want* to see is for something to land, repair the old rovers, give them a dustoff, maybe an upgrade or two, and send them on their way again. I wouldn't even care if it had no science of its own, if it could do that.
Put me in charge of a Mars mission and you'd have hundreds of cheap bots and rovers all running about. You'd cover more area, get more science done (e.g. 10% are chemical-analysis, 10% are rock-grinders, etc. so who cares if one gets stuck unless you NEED it?) and you could have some form of repair / diagnosis rather than having to spend MONTHS working out if it's safe to move the rover wheels again because it's the only thing in that area and has to "repair" itself if you break it.
Sod all that, play the numbers game and while you're there have them all watch each other and be able to fix each other (even if it takes forever over with a bunch of humans over a remote connection). And the element of humanity and community would make it seem much more inhabitable as a planet altogether.
"We now follow the news of bot #36 on Mars, who's managed to get further than anyone else and found the intriguing sample that NASA so desperately want to analyse. According to its controller back on Earth, Dave Smith, It appears to be on the Olympus Mons crater at a point higher than any other has reached, but now has become stuck there while the winter sets in. NASA are organising a bot rescue party and plan to warm the stricken bot using the warmth of the motors from the other bots until they can return him, or the sample, to the home base. Already 4 bots have perished on the dangerous mission, but it's considered worthwhile if it means that sample makes it back home while its still fresh...."
The moment you create a radiation hardened ARM processor, you can go ahead and use it for that purpose.
Rad resistant processor have a totally different internal structure. Lots of ECC and internal checks to prevent single bit errors in the L1 and L2 caches. Plus, as other commenters have pointed out, they are running in a cluster to increase reliability.
In non-computing systems, processors aren't valued only by the "Gigahurrz", their reliability and toughness is a more important factor. If you need heavy crunching, its easier to send it out elsewhere and then receive the results via radio link.
I wonder if they might have been able to build it with a non-hardened "co-processor" in a powered-down state until it arrived? (If I understand right, radiation is far more damaging to electronics that's powered-up than if it isn't ... though I'm not sure whether Mars's atmosphere is an adequate radiation-blocking substitute for Earth's in this context).
Downside: weight penalty. Upside: a *much* more powerful computer available, should it survive transit.
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Uhm. Most of the articles on El Reg are ripped from other sites and re-worded (aka dumbed down for their readers) Hell half of the things I see on here are from techradar / engardget, with a bit of the writers own opinion thrown in for good measure.
Somebody gets the information first, and the rest copy from them. Hell those people probably copied the information from somebody elses publication.
Yeah, its not going to take off again is it :-)
I still say it was a wa$te to crash the flying platform, it would have been amusing to fly it around for a few minutes and take pictures then soft land it a kilometre away.
I suppose the reason was that they didn't want it crashing on the rover..
I've got to agree with the other comments about the pointless inclusion of Apple in the title. Yes - it's clear from the text that Apple had nothing to do with Curiosity but it's lazy fanboi journalism. The most recent one that irked me was on the BBC News site - "Apple chip designer Arm Holdings in 23% profits boost" - where the first word of the headline has to be Apple even though they're just one of many ARM customers.
I'd love to go there for hols. Not much atmosphere. True. But have you been to Skegness this time of year?
It just seems so, I don't know, quiet?
Yes that's it. Quiet. Me and the missus (don't have one, but indulge me here): 'Not too many of those German types about dear? ' 'No dear, very QUIET.'.
What more could a man ask for. I am envious of a lump of metal with rubber wheels.
Seriously. So many fuck ups, so they thought 'Fuck it' - let's go to town. If we are going to fail. Let us fail superbly. And they did not fail. They succeeded superbly.
Don't have a hat. But if I did, it would be in my right hand, my face looking at my knees, hunched over, muttering something like: <Lt. George of Blackadder III> Bally well done! Hurrah!</Lt. George of Blackadder III>
This world is so fucked up, but if mankind (a few scientists from NASA) can achieve something like this, maybe there might be hope.
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