First computer on the moon

Computers & Mobile Science
First computer on the moon

apolloComp.jpg

Here’s a really fascinating piece on the BBC about NASA programmer Don Eyles and the team behind the storied AGC (Apollo Guidance Computer). Don was only 23 when he got the gig. Maybe it was good that he was young and naive. As he says: “I don’t recall the risk and the responsibility and the fact that other people’s lives were to some extent in our hands.”

There are few instances in which I’m happy to be as old as I am. The fact that I got to live through and be an active observer (aka space geek!) during the Apollo program is one of those times. I still get chills reliving some of that footage.

There’s a great jargon term in here, too: “LOL memory.” It stands for “Little Old Lady memory” and refers to the “rope core memory” used in the AGC that required teams of (women) employees to weave meters and meters of copper wire around magnetic cores.

Weaving the way to the Moon [Thanks, Brian Jepson and Mike Loukides!]

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at garstipsandtools.com.

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