Mars Curiosity Rover is a PowerMac G3 on wheels

We already knew that NASA used a lot of Macs during the Mars Curiosity landing event, but hardcore Mac geeks will be interested to know the Rover itself is running on both hardware and software that Apple used not only in consumer Macs of yesteryear, but that Apple still uses today!

In fact, the setup is so familiar that ExtremeTech calls the Mars Curiosity Rover “an Apple Airport Extreme… with wheels”, but for those who have been using Macs long enough, they’ll notice the Rover is basically like a PowerMac G3 from the late 90′s. These are some of the more interesting technical specs of the Curiosity Rover:

  • PowerPC 750 CPU running at 200Mhz, known as the G3 by Mac users
  • 256MB of RAM
  • 2GB flash storage (SSD)
  • 17 1600×1200 (2-megapixel) cameras
  • VxWorks operating system, which also powers the Apple Extreme Wireless routers

There are also plenty of lasers, detectors, and other technical instruments on board, but that’s branching away from the side familiar to Apple fans. If you’re looking for some particularly geeky weekend reading, don’t miss ExtremeTech’s article on Rover’s technical side, it’s good stuff.

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