Showing posts from September, 2015

Fortifying Computer Chips for Space Travel

Source:   Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Excerpts: Berkeley Lab's particle accelerator blasts microprocessors with high-energy beams to toughen them up.  Space is cold, dark, and lonely. Deadly, too, if any one of a million things goes wrong on your spaceship. It's certainly no place for a computer chip to fail, which can happen due to the abundance of radiation bombarding a craft. Worse, ever-shrinking components on microprocessors make computers more prone to damage from high-energy radiation like protons from the sun or cosmic rays from beyond our galaxy. It's a good thing, then, that engineers know how to make a spaceship's microprocessors more robust. To start, they hit them with high-energy ions from particle accelerators here on Earth. ...One of the most long-lived and active space-chip testing programs is at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (Berkeley Lab). ...Since 1979, most American satellites have had one or more e