- Apple software developer Forrest Heller put together a blog post comparing the power output of today's heftiest USB-C chargers and the computer on board Apollo 11.
- By his estimates, the Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2 USB-C Wall Charger is 563 times faster than the Apollo 11 Guidance Computer.
- But in NASA's defense, the Guidance Computer was completely crash-proof.
The charger currently juicing up your MacBook Pro is probably more powerful than the Apollo 11's onboard computer that guided the first astronauts to the moon.
Apple software engineer Forrest Heller broke down the specs for three consumer USB-C chargers, including the Google Pixel 18-Watt Charger, Huawei 40-Watt SuperCharge, and the Anker PowerPort Atom PD 2.
"I think it is healthy to compare historical and modern computing," Heller wrote.
Heller compares the Random Access Memory (RAM) between an 18-watt Google Pixel USB-C charger and the Apollo Guidance Computer, for instance. He found that the Anker charger has eight kilobytes of RAM compared to the Apollo computer, meanwhile, has four kilobytes of RAM.
After looking at RAM, clock speed, program storage space, and a few other components, Heller concluded that today's USB-C chargers are more or less 563 times faster than the Apollo computer.
This is in line with Moore's Law, which states that overall computer processing power will double every two years. Given that the Apollo mission took place 51 years ago, that means computing power should have doubled at least 25 times in that space, creating leaps in computing power by several orders of magnitude.
But the simple comparison short changes the Apollo Guidance Computer, which was an incredibly sophisticated machine. Operating systems that we're familiar with today, like Apple iOS and Android, control the computer and dole out energy to various programs.
In the Apollo computer, programs controlled the computer in a hierarchical structure, meaning that a program's specific importance would dictate how much attention it got. In the case of an emergency, this would allow for a quicker focus on crucial systems, allowing the computer to be essentially crash-proof.
Heller isn't the first to compare Apollo 11's Moon Landing Guidance Computer to modern-day devices, like the iPhone, flash drives, WiFi routers, and even a TI-84 scientific calculator from 2004.
But it's worth mentioning that a wall charger never put a person on the moon. Apollo Guidance Computer: 1. Every Other Gadget Ever Made: 0.
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