For the current NASA mission on Mars, the Rover Perseverance uses an on-board computer with a CPU with only 200 MHz. However, the computer has to work under extreme conditions.
The hardware of the Rover Perseverance is almost identical to the on-board computer of the Rover Curiosity launched in 2011.
A special housing makes the Rover Perseverance’s on-board computer so special
The built-in technology is not very spectacular, but the on-board computer has to work reliably in the temperature range between -55 and 125 degrees Celsius. In addition, the entire computing unit must be insensitive to radiation and charged ions.
The RAD750’s special insulation cost approximately $ 200,000. In addition, the Rover Perseverance has installed a second RAD750 so that you can simply switch back and forth between the two identical processing units in the event of problems.
The computer’s temperature is kept constant with a Warm Electronics Box. Conventional processors in notebooks and smartphones would not be able to cope with the amount of radiation. As the operating system, NASA relies on the real-time operating system VxWorks, which has been performing reliably in the Mars rover Curiosity for a good 10 years.
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Collection for the Mars rover Perseverance and the on-board computer used:
The current generation of the Perseverance rover uses a CPU with a clock rate of 200 MHz.
The rover’s on-board computer uses the RAD750 processor from BAE Systems from Great Britain.
- However, the US $ 200,000 computer is in a special housing so that the on-board computer can withstand up to 10,000 Gy radiation. For a human being, 6 Gy are fatal.
Source: Heise Online
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The article comes from PC Games Hardware 03/2021.
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