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Should we become Cyborgs?

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Should we become Cyborgs?

Forget wearable tech. The pioneers of our “post-human” future are implanting technology in to their bodies and brains. Should we stop them or join them?

Ian Burkhart concentrated hard. A thick cable protruded from the crown of his shaven head. A sleeve sprouting wires enveloped his right arm. The 23 - year-old had been paralysed from the neck down since a diving accident four years ago. But, in June this year, in a crowded room in the Wexner Medical Centre at Ohio State University, Burkhart’s hand spasmed into life.

At first it opened slowly and shakily, as though uncertain who its owner was. But when Burkhart engaged his wrist muscles, its upward movement was sudden and decisive. You could hear the joints – unused for years - cracking. The scientists and medical staff gathered in the room burst into applause.

The technology that made this possible, Neurobridge, had successfully reconnected Burkhart’s brain with his body. It was probably the most advanced intertwining of man and machine that had so far been achieved.

But such milestones are coming thick and fast. Quietly, almost without anyone really noticing, we have entered the age of the cyborg, or cybernetic organism: a living thing both natural and artificial. Artificial retinas and cochlear implants (which connect directly to the brain through the auditory nerve system) restore sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Deep-brain implants, known as “brain pacemakers”, alleviate the symptoms of 30,000 Parkinson’s sufferers worldwide. The Wellcome Trust is now trialling a silicon chip that sits directly on the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, stimulating them and warning of dangerous episodes.

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Rob Spence replaced his right eye with a camera Michael Alberstat

A growing cadre of innovators is taking things further, using replacement organs, robotic prosthetics and implants not to restore bodily functions but to alter or enhance them. When he lost his right eye in a shotgun accident in 2005, the Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence replaced it with a wireless video camera that transmits what he’s seeing in real time to his computer. Last year, the electronic engineer Brian McEvoy, who is based in Minnesota, made himself a kind of internal satnav by fitting himself with a subdermal compass.

“This is the frontline of the Human Enhancement Revolution,” wrote the technology author and philosopher Patrick Lin last year. “We now know enough about biology, neuroscience, computing, robotics, and materials to hack the human body.”

The US military is pouring millions of dollars into projects such as Ekso Bionics’ Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC), an ‘Iron Man’-style wearable exoskeleton that gives soldiers superhuman strength. Its Defense Advanced Research Projects Association (Darpa) is also working on thought-controlled killer robots, “thought helmets” to enable telepathic communication and brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) to give soldiers extra senses, such as night vision and the ability to “see” magnetic fields caused by landmines.

Ever since the earliest humans made stone tools, we have tried to extend our powers. The bicycle, the telescope and the gun all arose from this same impulse. Today, we carry smartphones – supercomputers, really - in our pockets, giving us infinite information and unlimited communication at our fingertips. Our relationship with technology is becoming increasingly intimate, as wearable devices such as Google Glass, Samsung Gear Fit (a smartwatch-cum-fitness tracker) and the Apple Watch show. And wearable is already becoming implantable.

In America, a dedicated amateur community — the “biohackers” or “grinders” — has been experimenting with implantable technology for several years. Amal Graafstra, a 38-year-old programmer and self-styled “adventure technologist”, has been inserting various types of radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips into the soft flesh between his thumbs and index fingers since 2005. The chips can be read by scanners that Graafstra has installed on the doors of his house, and also on his laptop, which gives him access with a swipe of his hand without the need for keys or passwords. He sells it to a growing crowd of “geeky, hacker-type software developers,” he tells me, direct from his website, Dangerous Things, having used crowdfunding to pay for the manufacturing (he raised almost five times his target amount).

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An X-ray showing the chips implanted in Amal Graafstra's hands Amal Graafstra

Graafstra, a hyper-articulate teddy bear of a man, is unimpressed by wearable devices. “A wearable device is just one more thing to manage during the day. I don’t think people will want to deck themselves out with all that in the future,” he says, dismissing Samsung Gear Fit as “large, cumbersome and not exactly fashionable”. Instead, he envisages an implant that would monitor general health and scan for medical conditions, sending the information to the user’s smartphone or directly to a doctor. This would be always there, always on, and never in the way – and it could potentially save a lot of doctors' time and money as fewer checkups would be necessary and health conditions could be recognised before they became serious.

Graafstra defines biohackers as “DIY cyborgs who are upgrading their bodies with hardware without waiting for corporate development cycles or authorities to say it’s OK”. But, he concedes,“Samsung and Apple aren’t blind to what we’re doing. Somewhere in the bowels of these companies are people thinking about implantables.” He mentions Motorola’s experiments with the “password pill”, which sends signals to devices from the stomach. (The same company has filed a patent for an “electronic throat tattoo” which fixes a minuscule microphone on the skin so users can communicate with their devices via voice commands.)

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 21:01


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Dr. Michael Strauss has given some iteration of a lecture he’s titled “Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God” to students and peers at universities across the nation for nearly 15 years, including atStanfordUT DallasUC Santa Barbara, and most recently Thursday at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he said observable and testable scientific evidence points to a “designer who cares about humanity.”

A physics professor at the University of Oklahoma who often spends his time studying smashed subatomic particles at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN laboratory in Switzerland has another hobby – smashing the notion that all scientists believe the universe was created by some sort of cosmic accident.

This is coming from an experimental particle physics expert who also says scientific evidence shows the universe is 14 billion years old, and that it was created through a so-called “big bang” – which many people also hear from the likes of atheist and agnostic scientists.

But Strauss, //" target="_blank" style="padding: 0px; margin: 0px; text-decoration: underline; color: rgb(68, 68, 68);">also known for his knowledge and expertise on the Higgs boson “God Particle,” told his audience of roughly 200 students and professors who packed a campus auditorium to hear him speak that the discoveries of modern science give abundant evidence for the existence of a transcendent, intelligent designer who created the universe and has a purpose for humanity.

A caveat Strauss presented during his talk was that he wasn’t there to declare science could prove the existence of God, either. But he noted this subject is not settled science. It’s relevant, hotly debated, and worthy of discourse – citing Dr. Stephen Hawkin’s 2010 book “The Grand Design” to illustrate the topic is still under review by some of the greatest minds on the planet. MichaelStrauss

“Bringing in speakers like this demonstrates the university’s mission of free and open intellectual discussion,” said University of Missouri history professor Darin Tuck, a faculty advisor to the Graduate Christian Fellowship, which hosted the event along with other Christian campus groups, such as Cru.

During his talk, Strauss essentially argued that the scientific evidence for the existence of God could be found by studying the origins of the universe, the design of the universe, and what Strauss called the “rare Earth hypothesis.”

In historical times, he said, all scientists believed in God, and it was only more recently, within the last 200 years or so, that science based on the assumption there is no creator has dominated the field.

But in 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered the universe was expanding, leading to the Big Bang hypothesis. Other modern experiments have also supported that theory, such as the temperature of the universe and the formation of elements.

“The prediction of general relativity is that the Big Bang itself is the origin of everything we know: space, time, matter and energy,” Strauss said during his talk to Dallas college students last year. “So the Big Bang is kind of a misnomer. A Big Bang brings up the idea that something exploded, but the Big Bang itself is not an explosion … it’s the origin of everything we know in this universe.”

“If everything in the universe came into being, then the cause of the universe must be transcendent, not a part of this universe,” Strauss argued. “Science kind of stumbled onto something that the Bible declared long ago … that the universe had a beginning.”

Strauss also brought up evidence for the existence of God by citing the apparent design of the universe, noting the amount of matter in the universe, the strength of its strong nuclear force, and the formation of carbon is so finely tuned that if any of these parameters were modified in the slightest, human life could not exist. Strauss stated there are about 100 similar finely tuned parameters.

Strauss’ third point delved into what he called the “rare Earth hypothesis.” Strauss detailed what it would take to for an earthlike planet to form by chance, a planet capable of sustaining not only bacteria, but higher life forms, such as those found in science fiction stories. (Think Class M planets from Star Trek.)

He highlighted how Earth is unique, with its moon, sun and solar system perfectly aligned to allow life to survive.  Few if any planets have a large moon in orbit around it to help provide just the right atmosphere. Few if any planets have a neighbor such as Jupiter, which is so large its gravity sucks into it potential threats to Earth, such as comets and asteroids.

In fact, there are 322 such parameters needed for a planet capable of sustaining intelligent life to form, and the probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters to develop by chance is 10 to the minus -282.

“It is unlikely that Earth could ever be duplicated,” Strauss said Thursday.

During his talk, Strauss included many quotes from atheist or agnostic scientists, those who do not believe in God, but still acknowledged the possibility of a higher power at work due to their observations:

Paul Davies: “If physics is the product of design, the universe must have a purpose, and the evidence of modern physics suggests strongly to me that the purpose includes us.”Superforce, 1984

Paul Ruben: “The biggest problem of the big Bang theory is philosophical, perhaps theological: What was there before the Big Bang?” Nature, 1976

John Horgan: “[Multiverse]-theory, theorists now realize, comes in an almost infinite number of versions, which ‘predict’ an almost infinite number of possible universes… of course, a theory that predicts everything really doesn’t predict anything.” Scientific American, 2010

In an interview before his talk at the University of Missouri, Strauss told The College Fix that his goal is to prompt listeners to question what they think they know – which is at the heart of scientific inquiry.

“I hope to get people to think,” he said. “To think in some new ways they haven’t thought before.”

“I have a passion for trying to understand what is really true,” Strauss added. “In this area of science we are searching for truth about the universe. Christians believe in a God that demonstrates truth. There should be some correlation, so it is important to investigate what that correlation looks like.”

When asked about his expectations for the night, “I always like honest questions,” he said, acknowledging people don’t always agree and that he receives opposition from both sides, science and religion.

“Frank dialogue is good, as long as it’s civil,” he said. “But I have thick skin.”

College Fix reporter Michelle Reed is a graduate student at the University of Missouri.

IMAGE: Main, Hubble/Nasa

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Gulfstream Unveils Two New Large Cabin Jets

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Gulfstream Unveils Two New Large Cabin Jets
Gulfsteam 500
Credit - Gulfstream 
October 14, 2014, 1:40 PM
During a ceremony this morning at its Savannah, Ga. headquarters, Gulfstream Aerospace took the wraps off the new G500 and G600, which are expected to enter service in 2018 and 2019, respectively. At this morning's ceremony the G500 rolled out under its own power. Both models have a wider cabin cross-section than the G450 and G550, but not quite as wide as that of the G650. The new jets–nestled between the G450, G550 and G650–will also have more composite content than existing Gulfstreams.
According to the aircraft manufacturer, the new models will deliver “unmatched high-speed range.” At a normal cruise speed of Mach 0.90, the G500 and G600 will fly 3,800 nm and 4,800 nm, respectively; at Mach 0.85, they will have a range of 5,000 nm and 6,200 nm, respectively.
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 22:08

FCC Starts Planning for 5G Data Services

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FCC Starts Planning for 5G Data Services


We're barely seeing 4G take hold here in the States and the FCC has begun the process to push into 5G for mobile data. The government's communications council voted unanimouslyto start looking into accessing the higher-than-24GHz frequency spectrum that was previously thought to be, as Reuters notes, unusable by mobile networks. So what are the benefits? Gigabit internet connections on the go, for starters -- something our current sub-3GHz spectrum can't quite handle -- similar to the ones Samsung just tested. Yeah, nowyou're excited. The feds believe that using these "millimeter waves" would allow for higher bandwidth for more people and devices at speeds that outclass most homes' broadband.
However, these waves only work over short distances for now and require line of sight for their point-to-point microwave connections. And that, my friends, is what the FCC is hoping to fix in the interim. What the vote means is that the groundwork is being laid, and research to make sure the tech is actually feasible now has the green light. For now it's anyone's guess (some estimates say by 2020) when we'll actually start surfing the mobile web atGoogle Fiber speeds while we're out and about -- millimeter waves may be fast, but the wheels of bureaucracy are not.

Here's a list of every Gadget getting Android 5.0 Lollipop

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Here's a list of every Gadget getting Android 5.0 Lollipop


If you're a die-hard Android fan, you're probably champing at the bit waiting for that Lollipop upgrade --when will you get it?
Are you going to get it? Thankfully for you, a number of companies have already promised to upgrade some of their devices to this candy 
flavored OS. Google's Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10models are naturally first in line, as are Android One and Google Play Edition hardware; 
Motorola brand is equally on top of things with plans to patch the Moto E, G and X alongside Verizon'sDroid Mini, Maxx and Ultra. 
HTC and OnePlus don't have full details, but they're both pledging to givetheir recent flagships a taste of Lollipop within 90 days of 
receiving finished code. NVIDIA and Sony, meanwhile, are being a bit vague. While they're respectively teasing plans to update 
Shield Tablet 
and the Xperia Z series, they won't say exactly when just yet; Sony has committed to the "beginning of 2015" for Z2 
and Z3 models.
Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 22:06

Rise of the Machines!

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Rise of the Machines!
Skynet's not calling the shots — yet.
Skynet's not calling the shots — yet. ( Salvation)


How smart are today's computers?

They can tackle increasingly complex tasks with an almost human-like intelligence. Microsoft has developed an Xbox game console that can assess a player's mood by analyzing his or her facial expressions, and in 2011, IBM's Watson supercomputer won Jeopardy — a quiz show that often requires contestants to interpret humorous plays on words. These developments have brought us closer to the holy grail of computer science: artificial intelligence, or a machine that's capable of thinking for itself, rather than just respond to commands. But what happens if computers achieve "superintelligence" — massively outperforming humans not just in science and math but in artistic creativity and even social skills? Nick Bostrom, director of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, believes we could be sleepwalking into a future in which computers are no longer obedient tools but a dominant species with no interest in the survival of the human race. "Once unsafe superintelligence is developed," Bostrom warned, "we can't put it back in the bottle."


When will AI become a reality?

There's a 50 percent chance that we'll create a computer with human-level intelligence by 2050 and a 90 percent chance we will do so by 2075, according to a survey of AI experts carried out by Bostrom. The key to AI could be the human brain: If a machine can emulate the brain's neural networks, it might be capable of its own sentient thought. With that in mind, tech giants like Google are trying to develop their own "brains" — stacks of coordinated servers running highly advanced software. Meanwhile, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has invested heavily in Vicarious, a San Francisco–based company that aims to replicate the neocortex, the part of the brain that governs vision and language and does math. Translate the neocortex into computer code, and "you have a computer that thinks like a person," said Vicarious co-founder Scott Phoenix. "Except it doesn't have to eat or sleep."


Why is that a threat?

No one knows what will happen when computers become smarter than their creators. Computer power has doubled every 18 months since 1956, and some AI experts believe that in the next century, computers will become smart enough to understand their own designs and improve upon them exponentially. The resulting intelligence gap between machines and people, Bostrom said, would be akin to the one between humans and insects. Computer superintelligence could be a boon for the human race, curing diseases like cancer and AIDS, solving problems that overwhelm humans, and performing work that would create new wealth and provide more leisure time. But superintelligence could also be a curse.


What could go wrong?

Computers are designed to solve problems as efficiently as possible. The difficulty occurs when imperfect humans are factored into their equations. "Suppose we have an AI whose only goal is to make as many paper clips as possible," Bostrom said. That thinking machine might rationally decide that wiping out humanity will help it achieve that goal — because humans are the only ones who could switch the machine off, thereby jeopardizing its paper-clip-making mission. In a hyperconnected world, superintelligent computers would have many ways to kill humans. They could knock out the internet-connected electricity grid, poison the water supply, cause havoc at nuclear power plants, or seize command of the military's remote-controlled drone aircraft or nuclear missiles. Inventor Elon Musk recently warned that "we need to be super careful with AI,'' calling it "potentially more dangerous than nukes.''




Last Updated on Saturday, 18 October 2014 22:48

47 Years Ago - The Fastest Manned Flight Ever!

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47 Years Ago - The Fastest Manned Flight Ever!
 Air Force test pilot William J. “Pete” Knight with X-15 aircraft number 56-6671.This photo was before Knight’s speed record flight when the X-15 received a white, heat-resistant coating. Photo Credit: NASA. 



READ MORE: Alert 5

The record setting X-15A-2, aircraft number 56-6671, with its unusual white heat resistant ablative coating and giant anhydrous ammonia tanks under its fuselage.

It flew at nearly Mach 7, seven times the speed of sound and twice the speed of a rifle bullet.

The speed record it set 47 years ago today still stands today.
It flew so high its pilots earned Air Force astronaut wings: 280,500 feet or 53.1 miles above the earth.

It pioneered technologies that were used on the SR-71 Blackbird, the space shuttle and the reusable spacecraft in Richard Branson’s future Virgin Galactic passenger space program.

And it killed test pilots in an era before redundant flight control systems and modern safety protocols for hypersonic flight.
It was the North American X-15. Today is the 47th anniversary of its fastest ever manned, powered flight.

The X-15 could be the most ambitious and successful flight test program in aviation history. Apollo astronauts flew it. It challenged the paradigms of aerospace design well beyond the limits of any prior program, including Chuck Yeager’s sound barrier busting Bell X-1. The X-15 program sits alongside the Wright Flyer as an aviation milestone. So much progress was made so quickly in the face of such great risk with such rudimentary technology that no other development program, with the exception of the Apollo missions, has come close.

10:30 Hr.s Local, Tuesday, 3 October, 1967. Edwards Air Force Base, Mojave Desert, California. After the awkward and tedious process of donning his pressure suit, Air Force test pilot William J. “Pete” Knight, clambers up a custom made ladder and lowers himself into the cramped cockpit of X-15A-2 aircraft number 56-6671. Half a dozen men helped Knight get ready for his flight this morning, testing life support equipment and helping him into his bulky pressure suit. His first astronaut type flight helmet attached to his pressure suit didn’t work with his aircraft communications system, so technicians have replaced it with a backup pressure suit helmet. Communication checks are normal now.

The X-15A-2 rocket plane is mounted between the number 5 engine and the fuselage under the right wing of “Balls 8”, a massive Boeing NB-52B mothership. Today it’s flown by Air Force Col. Joe Cotton and Lt. Colonel Bill Reschke Jr. The launch aircraft has a sprawling 185-foot wingspan and eight jet engines. It was originally a B-52 strategic bomber built for dropping hydrogen bombs on the Soviet Union if the Cold War ever got hot. The bizarre pairing of aircraft, the little X-15 nestled under the right wing of the giant silver and red B-52, is parked at the beginning of runway 04R/22L, a 3 mile long × 300 foot wide strip of reinforced concrete with an additional unpaved 2 miles for emergencies. Other than the sounds of vehicles coming and going it is quiet and still at Edwards Air Force Base in the wide expanse of the Mojave Desert.



Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 16:18

500 Miles Away from Home

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500 Miles away from Home

A very nice song, originally, from the Early 1960's.


Optionally-Piloted Aircraft Demonstrated With Pro Line Fusion

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Optionally-Piloted Aircraft Demonstrated With Pro Line Fusion

Tested As Ground Control Station For UAS Applications

(Are we watching the eventual demise of a Pilot Career?)

Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion has been successfully demonstrated for use as a ground control station and airborne avionics for unmanned aerial system (UAS) applications.

Successful experimental flights were recently conducted using the Pro Line Fusion integrated avionics system. This system was integrated with the UAS Control and Non-Payload Communications (CNPC) data link currently in development by Rockwell Collins to enable unmanned aircraft to safely operate in the national airspace.

Rockwell Collins demonstrated a distributed FMS that allowed controllers on the ground to reach into the optionally piloted aircraft to control the aircraft remotely. A key differentiator for Rockwell Collins is the company’s ability to combine the CNPC data link and distributed FMS, which paves the way to a certified solution for unmanned systems.

READ MORE: Aero News 

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:21

Business Aircraft Flying Continues Climb in August

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Business Aircraft Flying Continues Climb in August

Business aircraft flying in the U.S. rose for the ninth straight month, climbing 0.9 percent last month versus
a year ago, according to data released today by aviation services company Argus.
For this month, Argus estimates that flying will increase by 2.7 percent year-over year. 
For the first time this year, fractional flying led the pack, climbing 5.5 percent last month versus a year ago.

Part 135 charter flight activity grew by 0.8 percent year-over-year, while Part 91 flying was nearly flat,falling 0.1 percent.

Following recent trends, flight activity was positive for all jet categories but was down for turboprops lastmonth. 
Once again, large-cabin jets led the way with a gain of 5.3 percent, with usage of light and midsizejets up 1.3 percent 
and 1.5 percent, respectively. 
Turboprop flying was off last month by 1.4 percent from ayear ago.

READ MORE: Aero News

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 21:19

FAA Calls On The Aviation Industry To Equip For NextGen

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FAA Calls On The Aviation Industry To Equip For NextGen,
Will Hold A 'Call To Action' Summit October 28

FAA Deputy Administrator Mike Whitaker announced to a group of aviation leaders at the NextGen Institute in Washington, D.C. Thursday that the FAA will hold a “Call to Action” summit to engage the aviation industry in meeting the January 1, 2020 deadline to equip aircraft with new avionics technology. The all-day session will be held on October 28.


The FAA and the aviation industry will discuss how they can work together to resolve barriers and address potential challenges to meeting the mandate to equip tens of thousands of aircraft with Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) Out avionics in the next five years. ADS-B is a core NextGen technology that will revolutionize the national airspace system. ADS-B will move aviation technology from a ground radar system to satellite-based GPS technology, increasing safety and efficiency by providing a more accurate view of aircraft location.


“The FAA has met its commitment and built the foundation for ADS-B,” Whitaker (pictured) said. “It is time for all users of the national airspace – avionics suppliers, aircraft integrators, operators and installers – to work together to ensure that all aircraft flying in controlled airspace are equipped with these NextGen avionics. The full benefits of increased safety and efficiency of the national airspace depend on 100 percent equipage.”

READ MORE:  Aero News

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 20:58

Apollo 11 - Flight Computer

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Apollo 11 And The !960's Computer With A 64 Kbyte Memory,
And 43 Khz Clock That Put Men On The Moon Then Brought Them Home
By today's standards, the IT Nasa used in the Apollo manned lunar programme is pretty basic. But while they were no more powerful than a pocket calculator, these ingenious computer systems were able to guide astronauts across 356,000 km of space from the Earth to the Moon and return them safely.
The lunar programme led to the development of safety-critical systems and the practice of software engineering to program those systems. Much of this knowledge gleaned from the Apollo programme forms the basis of modern computing.
Apollo Guidance Computer
The lunar mission used a command module computer designed at MIT and built by Raytheon, which paved the way to "fly by wire" aircraft. The so-called Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) used a real time operating system, which enabled astronauts to enter simple commands by typing in pairs of nouns and verbs, to control the spacecraft. It was more basic than the electronics in modern toasters that have computer controlled stop/start/defrost buttons. It had approximately 64Kbyte of memory and operated at 0.043MHz.
The instruction manual for the AGC shows the computer had a small set of machine code instructions, which were used to program
the hardware to run various tasks the astronauts needed.
The AGC program, called Luminary, was coded in a language called Mac, (MIT Algebraic Compiler), which was then converted
by hand into assembler language that the computer could understand. The assembler code was fed into the AGC using punch cards.
Amazingly, the code listing for the AGC program can be downloaded as a PDF file. There is also an equivalent program for the lunar lander. The AGC was designed to be fault-tolerant and was able to run several sub programs in priority order. Each of these sub programs was given a time slot to use the computer's sparse resources. During the mission the AGC became overloaded and issued a "1202" alarm code.
Neil Armstrong asked Mission Control for clarification on the 1202 error. Jack Garman, a computer engineer at Nasa (pictured below, left), who worked on the Apollo Guidance Program Section, told mission control that the error could be ignored in this instance, which meant the mission could continue. Apollo 11 landed a few seconds later.
Experts cite the AGC as fundamental to the evolution of the integrated circuit. It is regarded as the first embedded computer. The importance of this computer was highlighted in a lecture by astronaut David Scott who said: "If you have a basket ball
and a baseball 14 feet apart, where the baseball represents the moon and the basketball represents the Earth, and you take
a piece of paper sideways, the thinness of the paper would be the corridor you have to hit when you come back."
While the astronauts would probably have preferred to fly the spacecraft manually, only the AGC could provide the accuracy in navigation and control required to send them to the Moon and return them safely home again, independent of any Earth-based navigation system.
Along with the APG, mainframes were also heavily used in the Apollo programme. Over 3,500 IBM employees were involved, (pictured below). The Goddard Space Flight Center used IBM System/360 Model 75s for communications across Nasa and the spacecraft. IBM Huntsville designed and programmed the Saturn rocket instrument unit, while the Saturn launch computer at the Kennedy Space Center was operated by IBM.
An IBM System/360 Model 75 was also used at Nasa's Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. This computer was used by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to calculate lift-off data required to launch the Lunar Module off the Moon's surface and enable it to rendezvous with Command Module pilot Michael Collins for the flight back to Earth.
At the time, IBM described the 6Mbyte programs it developed, to monitor the spacecrafts' environmental and astronauts' biomedical data, as the most complex software ever written. Even the simplest software today would far exceed the technical constraints the Apollo team worked under. The Apollo programme was pre-Moores's Law: in 1965 Intel co-founder Gordon Moore wrote his vision of how the performance of computer hardware would double every 18 months for the same price.
That a USB memory stick today is more powerful than the computers that put man on the moon is testimony to the relentless pace of technological development encompassed in Moore's Law. However, the Apollo programme proved that computers could be entrusted with human lives. Man and machine worked in unison to achieve something that 40 years on, has yet to be surpassed.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 20:57
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  • MD-81 Captain Job This position serves as Pilot-in-Command, Director of Operations for a part 125 operation.<br>Has responsibility for the safety of passenger...<img src="" height="1" width="1"/>
  • 737 and 767 Pilot To maintain safe and efficient operation of the aircraft while adhering to the Aircraft Flight Manual and approved Company procedures.<img src="" height="1" width="1"/>
  • Chief Pilot Responsible for the professional standard of all flight crew.<br>The Chief Pilot is responsible for the conduct of the pilot group.<br>The s...<img src="" height="1" width="1"/>

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