NASA’s latest Mars rover has the same processor as an iMac from 1998


NASA’s brand-new Perseverance rover is the most advanced machine that’s ever landed on Mars. But when it comes to rovers, “state of the art” is a subjective term. Perseverance is running on none other than a PowerPC 750, a single-core, 233MHz processor with just 6 million transistors that’s most famous for powering the original “Bondi blue” iMac from 1998. It’s the same type of processor that NASA already uses in its Curiosity rover.

That may seem like a waste to some. After all, even with the difficulty of buying computer parts these days, surely NASA could have found the budget for something like Intel’s $500 Core i9-10900K CPU (with 10 cores and a max clock speed of 5.3GHz) somewhere in the $2.7 billion cost of Perseverance. But as N…

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Author: Chaim Gartenberg