My iPhone freaks out in extreme cold or extreme heat, which is always annoying. But I can only imagine what it would do on the surface of, let’s say Venus, where temperatures reach a searing 864 degrees Fahrenheit. No big deal.
It’s with some relief then that word comes from NASA that they developed a chip that can survive on the surface of our closest neighbor. In case you didn’t know, Venus is closer to us than any other planet.
Previous computers could only handle Venus and its hot AF atmosphere for a couple hours. In fact, in 1982, Russia sent a lander to the surface of Venus and it lasted just over two hours. Now, according to Forbes, NASA is considering sending a lander to Venus in 2023, and they’ll need a computer that can handle the heat.
Gizmodo got in touch with Philip Neudeck, a NASA engineer, who told them, “If you look at Mars missions, there’ve been rovers on the surface getting all sorts of scientific data. That dataset is totally missing from Venus, and that’s because the electronics don’t function [there].”
The new chips are made out of silicon carbide instead of straight silicon, which allows them to behave as normal computer chips in the extreme temperature on Venus. Regular chips in such high temperatures lose their ability to behave as semiconductors, rendering the computer completely useless.
As for why we want to go to Venus, there are many reasons, but one stands out: its atmosphere is loaded with greenhouse gases, something we’re dealing with here on Earth. It’s something we’ll need to understand in more depth as we continue to procreate and burn things.
You know, just human survival stuff.