NASA has successfully launched the $671 million MAVEN mission to Mars for atmospheric research. Like the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter it is based on, it’s main computer is a BAE RAD750, a radiation hardened PowerPC 750 architecture. This processor first flew on the Deep Impact Comet chaser and is capable of withstanding up to 1 million rads of radiation. The entire processor sub-system can handle 200,000 rads. To put this in perspective, 1000 rads is considered a lethal dose for a typical human. Likely much higher then a Apple Mac G3 that the PowerPC 750 was originally used in back in 1998 as well. The processor can be clocked at up to 200MHz though often will run slower for power conservation.
The MAVEN should reach Mars within a few days of the Indian Space Agency’s $71 million Mangalyaan Orbiter launched earlier this month. MAVEN is taking a faster route, at the expense of a heavier booster and larger fuel consumption. The Mangalyaan Orbiter’s main processor is the GEC/Plessey (Originally produced by Marconi and now Dynex) MAR31750, a MIL-STD-1750A processor system.