View Full Version : Pocket PCs are going to the Moon!

17-07-2003, 21:38:30
Found at: http://www.space.com/businesstechnology/technology/transorbital_030715.html

Pocket PCs (specifically, Hewlett Packard's iPaq) are going to the Moon. Apparently, they are just complex enough to handle everything a good orbiting moon probe or future moon rover needs to do. Wirelessly connect to the Web, FTP data back and forth, run on very little power, easily charged from solar cells.

Article also worth reading for mention of future Internet accessable servers to be placed on the moon. I bet they host a lot of spam mailers, fetish porno sites, and off-world casinos! (Off-world. I just love saying that! :D )

No longer Trippin
18-07-2003, 04:55:42
The only problem would be if it runs MS Palm OS.

18-07-2003, 16:41:53
The server or the PPC?

No longer Trippin
19-07-2003, 04:00:01
That wasn't meant to be a stab at MS, just by going with HP and the Palm OS, that's doing things on the cheap. Looking back, doing things on the cheap has proven to be a bad idea. DS, working at NASA you can attest to that. At least this is just to the moon and it isn't public money, so the thing can fail for all I care. Now if it was going to mars or wherever else and it's coming out public coffers (of whatever nation), they should know by now that building things cheaply genrally winds up costing more in the long run. Not saying that it's a bad idea to use consumer devices, just that they aren't known for their lifespan and stability (well the Palm OS is stable as there isn't much to make it crash) - but your still relying on consumer level hardware for highly professional and costly work. If going that route with PPC's, then use several of them since they are comparitively dirt cheap. Thus if one fails, you still have a backup running on standby to take over if it detects the other has failed.

It's a good idea, but I'd want redundacy for anything of that cost especially since building it in would just be the cost of another PPC. Going to another planet would probably be a little too much for current PPCs as they don't have the durability needed to last that long with a high success rate. Though that too can be fixed, just by stacking more PPCs as backups. Have two on, when one fails, the other turns another on so you never get the probe transformed into multimillion dollar space junk.

It's a novel idea though if done right - just from reading there article, it isn't..

As for the OS, I don't know. With how they are doing it, if the one PPC has problems, Palm OS isn't going to tolerate it, and since it isn't open source, you really can't change it up without getting sued - which would defeat the purpose of using it (though I doubt MS would do that, as it's publicity for them to have the Palm OS powering a probe - they'd probably help in tweaking it). Other than setting a relay that kicks the Palm Pilot back on after a failure is put in place, without it the PPC won't kick back on. Then you just have to hope whatever crashed the Palm OS was just a fluke or the OS will just shut off again. I've yet to see the Palm OS crash except when my Palm Pilot decided it was on it's last legs - that is what I see as the problem using a PPC with the Palm OS. If something goes wrong with the PPC, the OS might not be able to come back online as easily as something that is designed to run with the PPC acting funny - long it mostly works it would be safe. A complete failure is a failure on matter what you have running the PPC.

So it's a great idea for short duration stints, like to the moon, but the further you go, the more one would want to build reduancy into the system.