IBM Power Architecture Heads to Unexplored Region of Mars
NASA Phoenix Mars Lander with Power Architecture Will Seek Conditions Favorable to Life
The program cost for the Phoenix launch is $420 million dollars and launch opportunities come only once every 26 months. Once on the surface, Phoenix will endure temperatures down to -100 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speeds of up to 40 meters per second. It is critical that all systems run smoothly throughout the mission. The RAD6000’s proven ability to withstand the rigors of space and open architecture programmable from workstations to supercomputers, make it an ideal platform for the 423 million mile journey.
“We are honored that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected the Power Architecture and the BAE Systems based RAD6000 to be an integral part of a mission that may answer the age old question; could life exist on another planet,” said Raj Desai, Vice President IBM Global Engineering Solutions, “With Power-based processors in all three major game consoles, in fifty percent of automobile models worldwide, in sixty percent of the world’s fastest computers, and in one hundred percent of the systems on Mars, Power is truly the most versatile computing platform in the solar system.”
Power Architecture and the red planet
In 2003 NASA launched the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers toward Mars to see if water, a key building block of life as we understand it, was ever present on the planet. The mission, originally planned for 90 days continues to this day transmitting an unprecedented amount of data and stunning photos back to earth.
The key instruments on both rovers relied on a single board computer built with a 32-bit Power Architecture licensed to BAE Systems by IBM and a RAD6000 processor radiation hardened by BAE systems
”We selected Power Architecture as the most amenable architecture for space-based missions,” said Vic Scuderi, space product manager for BAE Systems. “Experience bears out that choice, as the space community has accepted the RAD6000 as the workhorse for space computer applications.”
Surviving windstorms with speeds of up to 80 miles per hour and temperatures of -199 degrees Fahrenheit, Power, once radiation hardened, has become the de facto standard for space qualified processors.
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