Before Apple made the switch to Intel processors, the company was actually using a series of processors called the PowerPC that was co-developed by Apple, Motorola, and IBM. These processors were used in a number of Apple products, including the colorful iMac G3 computers that some of you might recall from the 1990s.
As it turns out, it seems that those processors are still very much alive and well and according to a report from New Scientist, it is being used to power the new NASA Perseverance rover that recently made its way onto the surface of Mars back in February. It might seem odd that for such a hi-tech event that NASA would turn to the use of such old technology, but it shouldn’t be surprising.
Compared to today’s processors, the PowerPC 750 CPU is really nothing to shout about with it only sporting a single core clocked at 233MHz. This is because NASA prefers using technology that has been tried and tested and proven. After all, it’s not like NASA can easily send someone to Mars to fix the rover if something went wrong, so it is a safer bet to use something that has been proven to work.
NASA isn’t alone in using old technology. We’ve seen how there are actually quite a number of machines and systems that continue to operate today that use old technology simply because they work and there’s no need to change them, but it’s still quite fascinating in today’s fast-paced technology world.