Chart compares Apollo 11 Guidance Computer to ordinary USB-C chargers

Brittany A. Roston - Feb 10, 2020, 7:30 pm CST
Chart compares Apollo 11 Guidance Computer to ordinary USB-C chargers

Programmer Forrest Heller recently published a chart comparing the Apollo Guidance Computer used during NASA’s Apollo 11 mission with three modern USB-C devices, including an ordinary Google Pixel phone charger and two other, more powerful, USB-C chargers. The chart and its related details offer a fascinating breakdown of the modern and historic technology, revealing that an ordinary Anker charger has more power than the technology that helped take humans to the Moon.

Heller’s comparison chart can be found on his personal website where he breaks down the hardware for the Google Pixel 18W charger, the Huawei 40W SuperCharge model, the Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 charger, and the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) used during the Apollo 11 mission.

The AGC featured discrete components with a 1.024MHz clock speed, 4KB RAM, and 72KB of program storage space. In comparison, the most powerful of the three modern devices, the Anker PowerPort, features a Cypress CYPD4225 microchip with a 48MHz clock speed, 8KB of RAM, and 128KB of flash storage.

Heller explains that the Anker charger features around 48 times the clock speed of the AGC and nearly two times the storage space. The programmer digs into the details about both of these devices, exploring whether there would be any potential for something like the Anker device to power lunar missions.

Heller concludes, after painstaking breaking down the details for both devices, that a total of four Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 USB-C chargers could suitably replace the four computers that took humans to the Moon and back in 1969. However, there are some caveats, including the very salient point that the hardware in the Anker device isn’t actually made to go into space.

You can read the full report, including all of the numbers and caveats, on Heller’s website here.

Note: The image above shows the Apollo Guidance Computer’s main casing and the DSKEY input module. Image via Wikipedia

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