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The processor of the Perseverance rover costs 200 thousand dollars, but weaker than a wristwatch

The Perseverance rover is the best ofexisting devices for studying the Red Planet. It is equipped with a variety of cameras and sensors, thanks to which it may well someday detect traces of life. At the same time, the computer installed inside it is much weaker than the cheapest smartphone. Its power can be compared to that of computers in the 1990s. It is weaker than even the Apple Watch, which has a more powerful processor and more memory. And its cost is prohibitive - it was recently revealed that the rover is equipped with a processor for 200 thousand dollars. At the current exchange rate, this is almost 15 million rubles! But why is it so expensive? Let's take a look at its characteristics and try to find out the answer to this question.

Perseverance is the best Mars rover in existence. And it is very expensive

Characteristics of the Perseverance rover

About the price of the processor that is installed insideMars rover Perseverance, reported portal Guru3D. The onboard computer is called the Rover Compute Element (RCE) and has a RAD750 processor inside it. It was developed by BAE Systems in 2001 and is capable of clocking up to 200 MHz. In addition to this chip, 256 megabytes of RAM and 2 gigabytes of memory for storing information are installed inside the on-board computer. By modern standards, the rover's computer is very weak - smartphones are dozens of times more powerful. Moreover, it costs 200 thousand dollars.

The "brains" of the Perseverance rover are installed in the middle of the hull

The power of the Perseverance rover can be comparedperhaps with a 1998 iMac, and then at a stretch. The first generation of all-in-one iMacs came out in May 1998, and even they had processors up to 700 MHz, up to 512 megabytes of RAM and a hard drive up to 128 gigabytes. The Perseverance rover is weaker than even the Apple Watch, which costs about $ 1,000 and is powered by a 520 MHz processor, 512 megabytes of RAM and 8 gigabytes of main memory.

The Perseverance rover is weaker than the Apple Watch

Interesting fact: even the most expensive gaming computers in the worldtoday they cost no more than 2 million rubles. And the computer of the Perseverance rover, as we have already found out above, in terms of our money costs about 15 million rubles.

How much does the Perseverance rover cost?

But why does the computer inside the rover cost 200thousand dollars, while smartphones comparable in power can be bought for 25 dollars? The reason is most likely due to its reliability. It can work without problems in both 55-degree frost and 125-degree heat. It can withstand up to 10,000 gray radiation, while 6 gray studies are fatal to humans. The NASA aerospace agency does not want to use other processors, because even the available power is enough to operate the rovers. In addition, this computer is time-tested and the researchers know perfectly well how to repair it in the event of a breakdown.

RAD750 was first used in 2005

The RAD750 computer is used in many otherspacecraft. For example, it was he who was installed inside the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter satellite, which entered the planet's orbit in 2006. The device still works great and recently even photographed the moment the Perseverance rover descended to the surface of Mars. The same computer is installed in the Kepler telescope, the artificial satellite of the Moon Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the interplanetary station Juno, and in 2022 will be used in the Europa Clipper spacecraft to study the sixth satellite of Jupiter - Europa.

Here's another interesting fact: the Ingenuity helicopter arriving on Mars is also not very smart. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor found in older Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 smartphones.

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Apparatus with RAD750 computer reallymany. According to data for 2010, more than 150 vehicles with such a filling were launched into space. And in each case, its cost was 200 thousand dollars. So spacecraft are very expensive devices. The total cost of the Perseverance rover was approximately $ 2.7 billion. It is the heaviest and most sophisticated laboratory ever sent to the surface of Mars.

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In spacecraft, powerful computers are almostare not used. In 1969, as part of the Apollo 11 mission, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person on the moon. Before taking the first step, the astronauts had to land a huge spacecraft on the Earth's satellite. It was controlled by the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), which was 25 million (!) Times weaker than the modern iPhone. The computer of one of the most important space missions in the history of mankind performed 40,000 operations per second, while the smartphone performs 5 trillion operations in the same time. You can read more about this in this article.