Computers 100 times more powerful: NASA’s plan to conquer the stars | Technology

The largest aerospace agency in the world has very ambitious plans for this decade and those to come. For this reason, NASA’s idea is to substantially improve current computers. Their plans require equipment 100 times more powerful.

NASA has awarded a $50 million contract to Microchip Technology, the giant of microcontrollers, to develop new generation processors that allow space computers to be 100 times faster than current ones.

If NASA wants to fulfill its goal of exploring deeper into the solar system, it is going to have to develop advanced computers. capable of performing complex navigation and communication tasks for all types of hardware, from spaceships to robotic rovers.

That’s why the US space agency wants a line of rugged processors that can not only survive harsh environments with extreme temperatures and high cosmic radiationbut also have at least 100 times the computing power of current space equipment.

This state-of-the-art spaceflight processor will have a tremendous impact on our future space missions and even technologies here on Earth.“, said this week Niki Werkheiserdirector of technological maturation of the Space Technology Mission Directorate.

NASA has tapped Microchip Technology, an Arizona company founded in the 1980s and famous for its line of PIC chips, to develop its next-generation space chip.

The $50 million contract will fund Microchip’s efforts to design and manufacture a so-called HPSC processor. (High-Performance Spaceflight Computing) for three years. NASA wants the architecture of the chip to be reliable, fault tolerant and much more powerful.

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The processor design has to be general enough to support a wide range of applications, such as: AI, edge computing, data transmission over Ethernet and other communication systems.

Microchip will have to think about how the chip can be adapted to handle all kinds of space missions, at a time when the Moon and Mars are seen closer than ever.

Our current spaceflight computers were developed almost 30 years ago. Although they have served previous missions well, future NASA missions require a significant increase in computing capabilities.explains Wesley Powell, NASA’s chief advanced avionics technologist.

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