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The glider-helicopter that flew over Mars now has the hardware of a 7-year-old smartphone

The glider-helicopter that flew over Mars now has the hardware of a 7-year-old smartphone

Would you expect the technology behind the Perseverance and Ingenuity helicopter to be the best and most modern? It turns out that the first LG G3 or Van Plus share specifications with them

Ingenuity Helicopter and Qualcomm System Introduced | Source: Qualcomm

NASA made history this week when it went up toFirst successful flight of the Ingenuity glider helicopter on Mars – After it landed on the Red Star along with the Perseverance spacecraft in February. Yesterday, the helicopter glider completed its second flight, which lasted just over 59 seconds.

I would assume that a helicopter, which makes so much history, must be equipped with the latest technology, and for good reason. Well guess again.

From the OnePlus One straight to Mars

NASA’s glider helicopter, which this week completed its first 40-second flight, and demonstrated that it is possible to fly on Mars despite its very thin atmosphere, includes a system from one of the currently known chip companies in the field of smartphones: Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has developed a platform for skimmers, which was announced in 2015, called Snapdragon Flight, which enables control of skimmers in real time using components from the company. Although the platform is intended for small gliders that will fly here on Earth, NASA has chosen to use them to operate Ingenuity remotely.

And so it turned out that Qualcomm began collaborating with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is responsible for the helicopter-skimmer flight project to bring in the Snapdragon Flight system, to help control it remotely, even if not in real time. .

So far everything is going well, a private company that makes chips for billions of smartphones is collaborating with NASA on one of the most interesting missions in history. But where is the not-so-modern technology that we promised you? Well, do you remember Qualcomm launched its platform in 2015? So it ran with the Snapdragon 801 processor.

Which means that the Ingenuity glider helicopter, which has made history and will likely lead to future flight plans for various tools in the Martian skies for years to come, was activated by the chip, which many of you had in your pocket as early as 2014. on legendary smartphones like the OnePlus One, which is considered Flagship The first killer. On the other hand, you can also find the chip in someone who would say it is For LG’s latest flagship: the G3 (You know it The G4 was terrible YYour cell division is dead).

The chip, based on Qualcomm’s ARM architecture, which as mentioned in some very popular models 7 years ago, is at the forefront of the stage long after its peak in the smartphone world, literally proving that “this It’s not age, this is exercise. “

Making history with ancient technology, the lander and the helicopter-skimmer on Mars | Source: NASA.

And the lander?

And if you thought that a 2014 chip in a skimmer-helicopter that made history is an ancient technology, you will be happy to know that the Perseverance probe in which the helicopter arrived and in which it “lives” came with technology that will cause you a significant blowout. nostalgia, no less.

The lander, which landed with Ingenuity about two months ago in the Djero crater on Mars to try to find ancient (and perhaps even less ancient?) Signs of life on the red planet, operates a chip that can be found in 23 years. . old computers.

This is a PowerPC 750 processor with a record speed: 200 MHz (we tested, there is no turbo button). The system also includes enough RAM for FIFA 98 in the computer: 256 megabytes of RAM and 2 gigabytes of storage. This is a similar system to Apple’s iMac G3, which was released in 1998, which is considered the original iMac.




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The idea behind the use of such old technology is first and foremost chips that have proven themselves over the years. After all, it’s one thing to discover Severe error in processors, Which cannot be severely repaired on Earth, and a completely different story when it occurs some 290 million miles from here. Additionally, relatively basic mission requirements allowed NASA engineers to settle for a veteran processor.

And open source. Much open source

Another interesting statistic about the technology that powers NASA’s tools on the red planet is the use of open source. Net Friedman, CEO of GitHub, Revealed Because for the software that runs the glider and probes, NASA used open source written by no less than 12,000 developers. Most of them by the way without knowing it. However, the situation may change, as GitHub decided to add Task character From Mars to all the developers, headed, unsurprisingly, Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux.


Oshri alexelsi

Your friendly geek neighbor. Do you have a technological history? Talk to me: [email protected]

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