Thursday, June 25, 2009

Men on the Moon and GPS in your pocket

Just over forty years ago, we stepped onto the Moon. I watched the first lunar landing back then sitting at a picnic table next to Healy Lake in Michigan. A cousin was camping there and invited us over for a Moon landing cookout. The grill was cast iron; the plates and utensils were plastic. The TV was black and white with rabbit ears and had maybe a ten-inch screen. It did have transistors rather than tubes. It was plugged into a generator. You could barely make out Armstrong stepping on to the surface.

Now, I have computers thousands of times (millions?) more powerful than Apollo 11 had. Hell, my Google phone with its disappointing GPS may approach the computer that sent three men to the moon, landed them and returned them to the earth. Back then, turn a switch, and the world and the moon came through the air right to you. We seldom turn switches these days, we push a button or icon or two to be with almost anyone and anything tens of thousands of miles away and it just seems normal. The Moon landing then, and my GPS now, don’t seem out of the ordinary to me.

I wonder what will happen in 2049 that will seem ordinary to those around to experience it?


Lifehiker said...

Actually, your Google phone is thousands or millions of time more powerful than the combined Apollo computers.

Lately I've become totally astounded at the "new science" that's being done right now. Technology has kick-started research to a level that blows my mind, and so much "progress" seems just around the corner.

Looking ahead 40 years is impossible when change is occurring at the current rate. I think even 10-15 years will bring amazing things.

Bill said...

I came to comment basically the same thing Lifehiker said in the first paragraph.

So I decided to find out exactly how much better your Gphone is than the Apollo guidance computer.
MIT started the development in 1961
and according to one link, your Gphone is 12,571 times faster and has 96,000 times more memory without an SD card plugged in.

Bill the Engineer.

Dave said...

I can't say welcome Bill, you've been here before. I do appreciate the research. For the rest of you, Bill spent ten minutes on Google to come up with his info.

eda said...