Remembering Apollo

The flight computer onboard the Lunar Excursion Module, which landed on the Moon during the Apollo program, had a whopping 4 kilobytes of RAM and a 74 KB “hard drive.” In places, the craft’s outer skin was as thin as two sheets of aluminum foil.

This quote is from an article at titled Beyond Apollo: Moon Tech Takes a Giant Leap.

The above facts made me curious so I took a quick look at Wikipedia’s page on Apollo’s Guidance Computer (AGC).

This is a photograph of the AGC user interface:


By today’s standards that computer was tiny.

The AGC was used in the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) – later called the Lunar Module (LM). The LM was the bit that landed on the Moon. Here is a photograph of the LM:

Apollo 16 Lunar Module

The Apollo program is on my mind because this July it will be 40 years since the Apollo 11 mission. Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin and Niel Armstrong took that small step – the beginnings of humanity’s journey out of the cradle. You may have guessed that I think this event is significant in the history of humanity. It will still be remembered in thousands of years as one of the major milestones in our development.

Incidentally; the guidance computer was one of the driving forces behind early research into integrated circuits – necessary for development of that computer you are using to read this.


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