As most of you will be aware by now, NASA’s curiosity was able to successfully land on Mars. This article from Wired explains how it’s processor is being shielded from the radiation and the bit-flips that it can cause in it’s RAM. It seems that bit-flipping is something that happens everyday to big supercomputers, although they are protected by ECC (error correcting code).
I always believed that space exploration isn’t just great because we learn so much about what’s out there but also cause it’s a driving force for innovation. Solutions to extreme problems (such as landing an 1000 kg robot on a far – away planet) could be applied to problems back here on our own turf. Take a look at all those spin-off techs from NASA.