iPhone processor way outguns Mars Curiosity rover's

An A5 chip is four times more powerful than Curiosity's onboard computer, but it still hasn't conquered gravity.

Even with more processor power, your iPhone can't take this picture...from the surface of Mars. NASA

If processor power were all that mattered in the space race, your iPhone 4S would be about ready to land on Pluto as part of a mission to send Siri to console it following its demotion from planet to just another big, cold rock floating in space.

F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen pointed out earlier today that the onboard computer specs in NASA's Mars Curiosity rover look pretty sad when stacked up against your basic smartphone, at least on paper.

An Apple A5 processor running at 800MHz is fully four times more powerful than the 200MHz chip aboard Curiosity. The 512MB of RAM on the iPhone 4S doubles what Curiosity packs, and if you've got 64GB on your phone, that's 32 times better than the rover.

Curiosity does hold a few advantages over your iPhone's basic system though, like the plutonium reactor that makes our earthly concerns about battery life seem quaint. And while 200MHz might not sound impressive, I should probably reiterate that it was good enough to, well... make it to Mars.

If you want to continue comparing apples and oranges in celebration of Curiosity's successful arrival on the Red Planet, take a look at this head-to-head between Curiosity and a Ford pickup truck . The Ford can haul a much bigger payload, but again, it's yet to overcome the bonds of gravity. I'd say that makes the score Curiosity 2, everything else, 0.

About the author

Crave freelancer Eric Mack is a writer, radio producer, and podcaster based in Taos, N.M., but he lives in Google+. He's also managing editor of Crowdsourcing.org and has written e-books on both Alaska and Android. E-mail Eric.

 

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