iPhone 4S Is 4x More Powerful Than The Curiosity Rover

Last night, NASA landed on Mars -- an amazing feat! But guess what? The Curiosity rover's on-board computer is a relatively low-power system. In fact, the iPhone 4S is four times more powerful. Check out the specs below.

Surprised? Don't be. NASA knows what it's doing. It has just enough to do everything it needs -- and that includes 17 cameras. [@mikko]


    Apart from the landing, NASA keeps it simple. There is no one around to pull the battery, and plug it back in when the system hangs. It wouldn't need speed as it would send the data back to Earth for the hardcore number crunching. The lack of content in this post has made me feel smarter in knowing that I am not a writer for Gizmodo. Also love to see the Apple love is still strong. My Galaxy S2 is faster than the iPhone 4S

      Curiosity does need speed, it has autonomy software, which requires lots of processing power.

    Yet your picture is of a 3G...

    I think that the power consumption would also play a part of this - a lower power CPU would mean you could supply more power to things like sensor arrays, or to the communications. When you have a 14 odd minute delay between sending a command and then having it processed, patience is a given :)

      Curiosity is nuclear powered.

        Its generator only produces 100 watts. It uses 140 watts when fully operating. They use a battery to supplement this and put it in sleep mode when they have to.

      It annoys me how people fail to do such an easy task

    Nice article. Why don't you continue your trend of great articles by comparing what is on the inside of a Ferrari against an iPhone and mention how much better an iPhone is because the Ferrari has no camera.

      +1 lol

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

        Seriously, Giz? -_-
        Guess I unlocked my first "deleted comment" achievement.

          I always have a burning curiosity (no pun intended) of what the deleted comment actually is.

      Hahahaha awesome :)

    It's a well known fact that the iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, hence the comparison. I'm glad you feel smart, because you aren't. Take your Apple hate somewhere else.

    That's also an image of an iPhone 3

      "iPhone is the most popular smartphone " that's because a lot of dumb people use it.

        Having the time or inclination to care about computers does not make you smart

      The point is, why even make the comparison in the first place?
      It's absolute nonsense. The article has no purpose. This is not about how good or bad an iPhone is.

      No such thing as an iPhone 3.

      You still haven't hit on what a phone has to do with a rover.

    Looks like an iPhone 3g, which only had a 412mhz (undeclocked) CPU and 128mb RAM. w00t. Curiosity wins!
    But does Curiosity have Angry Birds?

      But it just did a "Angry Bird Space" style trip!

    But does the iPhone last 14 years with one charge? NO.
    It's way uglier than the Rover too.

    The computer in the rover needs to survive the intense radiation of space hence is specs and architecture/shielding/power consumption. Your beloved iphone would last 2 minutes in the solar wind.

    It probably works a hell of a lot more reliably than an iPhone, too.

    You'd hope so.

    To all the commenters going on about how it was some kind of NASA decision to underpower it for some technical reason, don't forget is was designed in 2004-5. Those specs for low power CPUs and solid state storage looked a lot better then.

    Well done Giz. Did you also know that a Iphone is more powerful than a Weetbix even though they are the same size and shape?

      HAAAHAHA - oh man. I wish we could upvote.

        Gizmodo - please add a "I like this post " type button so we can give this man the credit he deserves

    iPhone 3GS has a 600MHz CPU and 256MB RAM:

    Not that it matters, as has been said this is like comparing a Nokia 3310 to a deep-sea mining rig. Completely nonsensical. Although if the Internet meme is to be believed the rig would have a couple of 3310s strapped to the end of the drill bit :--P

    OK, for a start the rover has a super-scalar PowerPC , not the much cruder ARM - more like a GPU and CPU than a CPU in many ways, capable of 400million floating point operations a second sustained while bathed in radiation and alternately cooked or frozen. It also has two full computers, not one. There are also lots of smaller microcontrollers throughout the rover - this is just the main "brain". Likewise the flash is hardened, and contains automatic replication and redundancy (much like a RAID disk). Space-rated CPUs will always be two generations at least behind the latest consumer CPU at the design date of the spacecraft, actually this one is super-powerful by those standards:-)

    Oh great 17 cameras! This rover better not be an angsty teenager or it's twitter feed is gonna get annoying!

    I guess this is an interest people. The guy is not criticizing.

    However, driving around a go cart track it's longest straight being 100m, in a Ferrari springs to mind.

    The rover made it's way onto the surface of another planet in one piece, the iPhone 4S can't survive a 1m drop without breaking...

    if you're going for a pointless sensationalist headline for a pointless sensationalist article, pick a phone which gives a the highest number to put in your headline.

    why compare with an iphone? you have dozens of smartphones that have faster processors than 800mhz... pick the galaxy s3 and your headline jumps to 7x more powerful.

    is this apple fanboyism or just someone who is bad at journalism?

    that was meant to read "bad at bad journamlism"

    17 Cameras... I hope it has a twitter feed.

    17 cameras and they all look like they're been run through the Instagram toaster filter. Stupid red planet.

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