Why Space-Grade CPUs Are Slow? (MarsRover Used 200MHz CPU)

Humans have been fantasizing about the extraterrestrial world from centuries. But who knew that we would be able to land on the moon one day. We have a lot of references which talk about how ancient people worked on astronomic matters.

Many scholars from around the world kept working on astronomy. From ancient Greek scholar Ptolemy to the great ancient Indian philosopher Aryabhatta, everyone has shown that the cosmic world is something that has to be deciphered.

Over the years astronomers and mathematicians worked a lot to untangle the mysteries regarding the starry world. The first rocket was introduced in 400 BCE (according to the myths). The Greek philosopher and mathematician, Archytas, first came up with a wooden pigeon which was run by escaping steam.

Later on, for a hundred years, the flying device was used as a military weapon. In the 20th century, Russian scientist Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky introduced a rocket. German scholar Herman O Barth brought a renaissance into the world for rocket science and technology. His science equipment also helped the Nazis in World War II.

After World War II, many German scientists helped both the Soviet Union and the U.S.A in the competition of sending rockets in space. After several endeavors, countries felt enough confidence to send their inventions into the outer world. Many animals were sent in the space to examine the situation and afterward, humans were sent.

Yuri Gagarin, A Russian Cosmonaut was the first human to experience outer space. Later on, many cosmonauts had been sent to analyze space movements. The space technology has been so improved these days that the Voyager I spacecraft was able to leave our solar system and became the first man-made object to reach the interstellar space.

Modern Space Equipment

Scientists discovered various types of radiation in the space environment, which is considered to be a turning point in the history of space engineering. Nowadays radiation is counted as the key factor in building up space-grade computers. The major reference of the radiation is the cosmic rays, solar particles and the proton and electron belts that are covering the earth’s magnetic field.

The first computer had entered the space in the 1960’s boarding a Gemini spacecraft. This computer had undergone nearly 100 tests before sending it into space and had worked with the least difficulties. Scientists analyzed every movement including exposure to the vibration, vacuum and high temperatures. But it worked well.

It worked well for the rest and it wasn’t exposed to radiation. Normally computing and processor engineering has been done forward pushing initially by decreasing feature sizes and improving clock rates. The transistors are made tinier to tinier from 240nm to 7nm, which we have in our smartphones.

Why CPUs Are Slow?

Engineers and developers are trying to clock the CPU’s higher to increase the potential of the processors. The major difficulty of the radiation is that, if it gets strikes by a particle, the stored data in the CPU memory can get corrupted. It means the charged particle would get a restricted time to damage the stored data.

But it is different in other cases, for example, in low clocked data the chances of damaging the memory are relatively higher than the high-clocked ones. This tendency is called latching-windows.

But the higher clock speed is more vulnerable to the radiation as it increases the latching of windows. This is the reason why the radiation-hardened processors are always clocked lower than their commercial counterparts.

To sum it up, every way we try to make them faster also makes them more fragile.

Abhishek is the founder of Geeks Gyaan. When he's not busy writing, he loves looking at the stars and exploring the universe.


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