Is possible to build rocket ship to MARS using raspberry Pi?


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by NewAtlantis » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:33 am
Saturn V was powered by 8088 intel processor. Is possible to build rocket ship to mars by using Raspberry Pi?
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by tonyhughes » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:36 am
Processing power is not anywhere close to being the main issue for space vehicles...

(Think radiation, g forces, vibration, heat, cold, proven track record, simplicity, and much more...)
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by trung » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:21 am
I think the issue would be radiation hitting the CPU and flipping bits. Unless you could somehow put the Pi in some sort of radiation proof case...

From the wikipedia article:
For reliability, the LVDC used triple-redundant logic and a voting system. The computer included three identical logic systems. Each logic system was split into a seven stage pipeline. At each stage in the pipeline, a voting system would take a majority vote on the results, with the most popular result being passed on to the next stage in all pipelines. This meant that, for each of the seven stages, one module in any one of the three pipelines could fail, and the LVDC would still produce the correct results. The result was an estimated reliability of 99.6% over 250 hours of operation, which was far more than the few hours required for an Apollo mission.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_Lau ... l_Computer
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by jamesh » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:04 am
SpaceX don't use radiation hardened CPU's (not just in a box, actually hardened - they are made using a different process and are much more expensive), they use multiply redundant systems. However the last Falcon 9 flight did suffer some computer anomalies that they think may have been radiation caused. I think they are beefing the system up as a consequence

But as others have said, the computer is the least of the flights worries.
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by trung » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:58 am
Just imagine if there was a RasPi going to mars..

Err houston we are running apt-get update now.. the network is a bit slow..


:lol:
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by raspberrypiguy1 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:25 pm
It would take SO much planning and specialist equipment! :lol: You could put the Pi in a lead case... That would stop radiation! But... that is the least of your problems!

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by Jim JKla » Sun Feb 03, 2013 12:53 pm
Budget is a bigger problem than radiation hardening. ;)
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by summers » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:51 pm
There are I guess a number of issues.
1) mechanical issues are so-so; one the one hand the RPi is a small pcb, that if bolted down should cope well with vibrations etc. The down side is how to bolt it down - it doesn't have good mounting options. Probably for space it would be mounted in slots down the side, plugging into a back plane at one end. Also some components would have mechanical issues, not least the big smoothing capacitor. I've also not heard of the chip-on-chip technology being approved for space (e.g. the ram on the back of the CPU) - and there could easily be issues there. The packaging of the chips is also not good, plastics outgassing etc - so we would want the CPU in a metal case.
2) The radiation environment in space, and in particular in a trip to mars, would give issues. Usually for space use we use qualified components that are hardened for use in a high radiation environment. These cope better with the radiation environment, in particular total dose - thats how much radiation you can expose a device to before its permanently damaged. Odds are many of the RPi components would stop working before arriving at mars. Then there is how components cope with single event upsets - thats where a charged particle goes through silcon and flips its state. With memory this could flip bits, with cpus change registers, cache, etc. Certain designs, and certain architectures cope better with this - e.g. good space designs have things like triple voting - all logic is encoded 3 times, and where the results of all 3 logic disagree - it signs a problem has occurred, but can also take the two that agree. RPi hasn't been through any of this, odds are that SEU will make it unusable.

So whats clear is that RPi isn't designed for space, so there is very little chance of it working. This doesn't mean that things like this aren't tried at times - e.g. IIRC SSTL flew some pentiums, the had to disable the cache to get it to work - but it did kind of work. I'm not aware though if they ever used a commercial processor for any critical item, e.g. overall control of a SC.
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by timrowledge » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:45 pm
A long time ago, as I understand it, there were indeed a batch of ARMs made as silicon-on-saphire which is radiation hardened when done right. This would be around ARM3 era I think.
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by Jim Manley » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:18 pm
During launch and ascent, the Shuttle originally used quintuple-redundancy for the most critical functions on five custom-built real-time IBM computer systems from the mid-1970s. They were based on seven year-old technology the first time they flew to space in 1981 due to the length of time it takes to qualify systems for mission-critical use in space. They weren't replaced with more modern systems until the Shuttle overhauls starting around 1996 when they were approaching 20 years old ... upgraded with ~1989 technology that had just become space-qualified.

Current personal computing technology laptops, tablets, and desktop PC motherboards repackaged for integration into experiment bays routinely flew on the Shuttle and are aboard the International Space Station today, strictly for processing not critical to mission safety. However, they can only be used within the confines of the human-habitable spaces since those are already shielded from radiation (otherwise, the computing devices and astronauts would come back in the Extra Crispy flavor).

There is another serious problem beside radiation and that's the intense magnetic fields that both surround the Earth and emanate from the Sun (however, the good news is that Mars, like Venus, has no significant magnetosphere). These induce powerful electric fields in any conductive materials that pass through them (primarily at right angles), such as cables, printed circuit board traces, semiconductor device internal conductive paths, inductors, capacitors, relay coils, and pretty much every other electrical and electronic device. Again, the commercial, off-the-shelf equipment is only used within the habitable areas of spacecraft for non-critical tasks, it's electrically shielded within a Faraday cage surrounding the entire spacecraft that is composed primarily of the gold-infused foil that's ubiquitous in the photos of spacecraft assembly and launch prep.

Interplanetary space is about as unforgiving an environment as you could conjure up, and about the only places worse for a Pi would be in proximity to star systems that are producing anything from plasma streams to gamma rays. Pi budgets don't mix well with the challenges of space - and have you priced rocket fuel lately? It's not the bargain it was in the 1960s when you could get to the Moon for a measly $125,000,000 a shot for the entire Apollo-Saturn V launch vehicle and fuel! ;)
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by Jim JKla » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:27 pm
Jim Manley wrote: it's electrically shielded within a Faraday cage surrounding the entire spacecraft that is composed primarily of the gold-infused foil that's ubiquitous in the photos of spacecraft assembly and launch prep.


I was allways given to understand a Faraday Cage was earthed that has to be one hell of a bonding lead to earth a space ship in orbit.

Not a problem for a space elevator with a carbon nano fibre conductor thethered to a fixed ground station. ;)
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by pluggy » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:31 pm
Since the Intel 8088 first saw light of day in 1979 and the Saturn V was laid up in 1973 its impossible that the Saturn V was powered by one. The designers of the Saturn V would have killed for something with a small fraction of the power of the 8088. Intels first CPU (the 8008) launched in 1972 was way too late for the Saturn V which came into service in 1967.
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by Jim JKla » Sun Feb 03, 2013 8:03 pm
I was allways given to believe the first 8086 (later to become the 8808) chips 8 bit were made by linking together 4044 4bit processors from the Redstone misile now this has no refrence other than my memory from past reading probably the early editions of Omni currently stached under my bed. ;)

The 8088 was used in the early IBM MS-Dos machines.
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by alexeames » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:06 pm
Marsberry Pi :lol:
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by ski522 » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:20 pm
NewAtlantis wrote:Saturn V was powered by 8088 intel processor. Is possible to build rocket ship to mars by using Raspberry Pi?


Yes it's possible.
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by paulie » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:45 pm
Jim JKla wrote:Budget is a bigger problem than radiation hardening. ;)


Kickstarter anyone?

:shock:
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by AMcS » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:23 pm
timrowledge wrote:A long time ago, as I understand it, there were indeed a batch of ARMs made as silicon-on-saphire which is radiation hardened when done right. This would be around ARM3 era I think.

Later StrongARMs were used in AMSAT (Amateur Radio Satellites) in low Earth orbit - apparently the StrongARM was quite resilient - if the cache was turned off.

A "Single Event Upset" (SEU)/Crash is more likely to happen with the chip cache on (the cache doesn't do Error Detection and Correction).

A trip to Mars using a PI (even with the cache off) would be challenging (with no terrestrial magnetic field to protect it) - mind you (if) it got to Mars if it settled into a lowish orbit round the planet you use Mars as a shield (it would block about half the sky - and around half the radiation...).
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by mahjongg » Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:33 pm
From a practical view:

Some Atmel Atmega processors running on 5V were tested for their resilience against hard radiation, the result was that they experienced lockups due to transient substrate currents a lot. The solution was lowering the supply voltage! So in any space craft, use as low as possible power voltages!
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by pluggy » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:34 am
The Intel 8088 was a later, cut down version of the 8086. It was used in the original IBM PC and the later XT, although many clones from a similar era used the more powerful 8086. The 8086 was a 16 bit processor, the 8088 was a pseudo 16 bit and was cheaper than the 8086.
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by Jim Manley » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:34 am
pluggy wrote:The Intel 8088 was a later, cut down version of the 8086. It was used in the original IBM PC and the later XT, although many clones from a similar era used the more powerful 8086. The 8086 was a 16 bit processor, the 8088 was a pseudo 16 bit and was cheaper than the 8086.

Not quite the right sequence. The original IBM PC and its clones used the 8088 because the 8086 wouldn't be available in sufficient quantities at a low enough price and early enough to be used in what IBM wasn't at all convinced would be a success in its primary business markets. The HQ boys in Armonk only grudgingly approved the project based on the assumption that PCs would mostly be able to be used as not-quite-so-dumb terminals connected to their mid-range AS/400 and 370/3090 mainframe systems (it was assigned to the Data Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida - the group responsible for dumb terminals). The second interface card developed for the PC after the Monochrome Display Adapter (which had more chips on it than the PC motherboard) was a Token Ring network adapter in anticipation of users realizing that a PC not connected to anything else would quickly become boring.

The Color Graphics Adapter wasn't available until months later as it wasn't a priority since it would merely allow games to be played (Windows 1.0 wouldn't even be ready until nearly three years later, as Microsoft licensed GUI concepts from Apple based on the technology developed for the Lisa and Mac). What IBM wasn't aware of were rapidly-growing on-line e-mail and chat services that became The Well, Compuserve, GEnie, AOL, etc., and the modems that allowed PCs to be connected to those services, beginning with the increasingly-speedy Hayes Smartmodems. The 8086 wasn't used in the IBM PC or PC/XT that was released over a year and a half after the original PC was, and IBM went to the 286 in the PC/AT in 1984.
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by adlambert » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:47 am
I believe that the CPU in the Saturn Computers (LVDC, Guidance and Abort Guidance) were designed and built out of discrete logic components rather than being an actual single chip.
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by pluggy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:55 am
Jim Manley wrote:
pluggy wrote:The Intel 8088 was a later, cut down version of the 8086. It was used in the original IBM PC and the later XT, although many clones from a similar era used the more powerful 8086. The 8086 was a 16 bit processor, the 8088 was a pseudo 16 bit and was cheaper than the 8086.

Not quite the right sequence. The original IBM PC and its clones used the 8088 because the 8086 wouldn't be available in sufficient quantities at a low enough price and early enough to be used in what IBM wasn't at all convinced would be a success in its primary business markets. The HQ boys in Armonk only grudgingly approved the project based on the assumption that PCs would mostly be able to be used as not-quite-so-dumb terminals connected to their mid-range AS/400 and 370/3090 mainframe systems (it was assigned to the Data Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida - the group responsible for dumb terminals). The second interface card developed for the PC after the Monochrome Display Adapter (which had more chips on it than the PC motherboard) was a Token Ring network adapter in anticipation of users realizing that a PC not connected to anything else would quickly become boring.

The Color Graphics Adapter wasn't available until months later as it wasn't a priority since it would merely allow games to be played (Windows 1.0 wouldn't even be ready until nearly three years later, as Microsoft licensed GUI concepts from Apple based on the technology developed for the Lisa and Mac). What IBM wasn't aware of were rapidly-growing on-line e-mail and chat services that became The Well, Compuserve, GEnie, AOL, etc., and the modems that allowed PCs to be connected to those services, beginning with the increasingly-speedy Hayes Smartmodems. The 8086 wasn't used in the IBM PC or PC/XT that was released over a year and a half after the original PC was, and IBM went to the 286 in the PC/AT in 1984.


I didn't say why the 8088 came about, but that is correct, cheaper was the point. Clones obviously came after the IBM, but they were using the 8086 pretty quickly after the original.

Microsoft licensed from Apple ?. I thought they nicked it, and Apple didn't make a lot of noise because they nicked it from Xerox ?
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by pluggy » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:56 am
adlambert wrote:I believe that the CPU in the Saturn Computers (LVDC, Guidance and Abort Guidance) were designed and built out of discrete logic components rather than being an actual single chip.


That sounds a lot more likely than the 8088 cock and bull story.
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by Mannakin » Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:56 am
"Hardening" the Pi surely wouldn't be that difficult?

Stick it in a small biscuit tin and punch some holes in it for the cables. A few mm of metal box surrounding the Pi would be more than enough to harden it against all but the most energetic cosmic radiation and gamma radiation and also provide magnetic isolation.

Stick 3 or 4 in the same biscuit tin and network them for redundancy.

If the ship had humans then put the computers in the same shielded space as the people.

Seems like NASA think some polyethene bags should work ;p
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by adlambert » Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:30 pm
Mannakin wrote:
If the ship had humans then put the computers in the same shielded space as the people.


The computers and humans suffer different effects from Van Allen radiation etc. Apollo astronauts were exposed but for a brief period, unfortunately an electronic device operating at high frequency can be upset in a microsecond unless it is designed in both hw and sw to cope with that. Hence the multiple computers crosschecking systems and hardening.
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