Super-Space Cube "to Link All Known Technologies"
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September 02, 2008

Super-Space Cube "to Link All Known Technologies"

Darpasats_2 A super-sophisticated space cube of technology - and this one isn't bent on our assimilation.  That's probably because it's only five centimeters to a side, and Borg that you can hold in your hand aren't intimidating no matter how much they insist that "size is irrelevant".

The cute little computer is some literally space-age technology, built by the Shimafuji corporation for operation off the planet.  Rather ominously like it's Borg brethren, the cube is designed to link up to all known space technologies - those of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Japan Aerospace exploration Agency (JAXA, and it's always nice to see an organization prepared to mangle capitalisation for a good acronym).

While armed with the usual USB and Firewire ports, the SpaceCube acts as an international systems ambassador using SpaceWire connections.  It turns out that astronauts don't want to see messages like "Error:  The driver for the Oxygen Processor could not be found 00xxxxxeeff333", so while Earth businesses fill up your hard drive with multiple generations of drivers (and Sony act the arsehole with proprietary formats), the space agencies built their own standard.

It's not just the connections that are built for extraterrestrial operation: the unit is highly impact resistant, of course compact, and draws aminuscule five watts to operate.  We're not sure how it can produce big showers of sparks when the station is hit, but forty years of Star Trek assure us it will.  The trade off for these tiny requirements is less than impressive specs: a 300 MHz processor and only 16 MB of RAM.

Then again, we sent men to the moon with less processing power than your phone has now - and it's not as if people who get to go into space need to fill up their lives with Warcraft.

Posted by Luke McKinney

Space Cube

Comments

Don't you mean super space saver cube?

What the hell did I just read?

I coulda sworn this was an onion article...

I wonder how much hardening actually went into this device? Is it well shielded from radiation? How impact sensitive is it really? Can it withstand a micrometeorite hit? Can it be used in parallel/redundant manner with others of its kind?

It's pretty hard radiation-wise, but it's even less impressive than that since it doesn't even have floating-point hardware in the CPU. And nothing can withstand a direct micrometeorite hit if it's of any size at all. But also this will be inside a satellite (it's not a satellite itself) so it's not like it's armored or anything...

Wow dude now THAT is starwars and StarTrek stuff if I ever saw it.

Jess
www.privacy.mx.tc

That was the worse piece of writing I have read in quite a while. aminiscule? I hope English is your second language - most people can write better than that while they are in grade school.

How about a photo??

An incomprehensible, poorly - written article about an otherwise fascinating & technologically promising subject. I could write a better piece after 3 beers. Sorry, Mr McKinney, but the references to the Borg & World of Warcraft perpetuate the unfortunate stereotype of the " science - geek ".

Hey Elvis: Luke McKinney is a PhD candidate in Physics at the University of Toronto and one of the wittiest, most brilliant of the new generation of writers on the Web. Lighten up! Casey Kazan, editor.

I hate to nit - pick, but McKinney's writing should reflect his education & not look like a high - school English student's 1st draft. My comment stopped after the phrase " science geek " & was added onto by CAsey K.

& the term " geek " is unfortunate, as it does perpetuate an undeserved stereotype of science - fiction & fantasy fanboys with a background in science & technology, sometimes bordering on obsession, who lose contact with the world outside.

It is really amazing this little cube space!!!


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