Tuesday March 14, 2017

How Do NASA's Apollo Computers Stack up to an iPhone?

Here is a look at how modern smartphones compare with NASA’s Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), which helped get us to the moon and back in the ‘60s. If you want to cut to the chase, newer devices like the iPhone blow away what we had back then in terms of computational power, but the AGC still arguably has it beat in terms of reliabilityآ—it was designed to be completely crash-proof.

Yes, the modern smartphone is more powerful than the computer used by NASA during the Apollo mission, but that overlooks how impressive the Apollo computers actually were. For starters, there wasn't just one computer, there were four. NASA's computers, specifically the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), were at least ten years ahead of their time from a commercial tech perspectiveآ—their strength unmatched until a decade later with the advent of computers like the Apple II. YouTuber Curious Droid works through the misconceptions and gets to how impressive these computers really were.