Over the previous decade, it’s grow to be commonplace to attempt to put the progress of know-how into perspective by declaring that most individuals’s smartphones are extra highly effective than the steering pc that took Apollo 11 to the Moon in 1969. Now, nonetheless, we would have a brand new milestone to measure ourselves towards after Apple developer Forrest Heller has convincingly argued that even a contemporary USB-C charger has extra processing energy than the spacecraft’s steering pc.

Making a direct comparability between the 2 machines isn’t straightforward as a result of NASA’s 1969 pc works very in another way than a contemporary machine. However listed here are the essential specs: the Apollo 11 Moon touchdown steering pc had a clock pace of simply 1.024 MHz in comparison with 48 MHz for the ARM Cortex-M0 CPU within the Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 that Heller used for his comparability. It has round 4KB of RAM in contrast with 8KB for Anker’s charger, and 72KB of storage in comparison with 128KB of flash reminiscence within the fashionable accent.

In complete, Heller reckons the fashionable charger is 563 occasions sooner than the Apollo 11 pc, can retailer 1.78 occasions extra directions, and has a bit over twice the quantity of RAM. You’ll want to take a look at his full blog post for the nitty-gritty particulars because it’s stuffed with the sorts of math that satisfied me to grow to be a know-how journalist reasonably than a programmer.

Regardless of the ability disparity, Heller nonetheless thinks you’d want 4 chargers to exchange the 4 separate computer systems on board Apollo 11, and he additionally admits that there could be different elements that will stop a USB-C charger from flying a spaceship. I don’t know if there’s an IP ranking for sending one thing into area, however I’m fairly positive Anker’s charger doesn’t have it. (We’ve contacted Anker for affirmation, clearly.)

There’s additionally the query of peripherals, with Heller noting that it’s unclear what number of the Apollo 11 steering pc supported. I do know the USB-C ecosystem is getting higher, however I’m undecided we’re on the level the place a charger might fly a spaceship.

Regardless, it’s a enjoyable thought experiment that highlights a few various things. First is clearly the sheer quantity of progress know-how has remodeled the previous half-century, however extra necessary are the wonderful feats which might be nonetheless achievable on modest {hardware}.

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