Writing this comment inspired the following question:

Space suits are critical to life, so if there's a solar storm and the astronaut has received a less-than-lethal dose of radiation, they'll be wanting the CPU and "non-volatile" memory to continue to work flawlessly.

Since suits can't carry a titanium vault, how are these low-mass, low power computers and their memories likely to be radiation hardened when Walking on the Moon?


1 Answer 1


The same way all space electronics are radiation hardened. Shielding it directly is not the only way to protect electronics.

Instead, radiation-resistant hardware (such as silicon-on-insulator transistors) and logical systems (EDAC/Error Detection And Correction or ECC/Error Correcting Code). Triple Modular Redundancy is really common as well, where three redundant systems perform the calculations and a voter decides which result to use - usually all 3 are identical, but if there is an error in one system there are still two other correct calculations and the voter will accept it.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks; are triply-redundant, SOI processors "really common" in space suits? Or is this just how you expect it will be done in the future? How much hardware in space is really SOI? Things on the ISS, or mostly just satellites? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 2, 2020 at 8:47
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I don't know about space suits in particular, but in space electronics in general, SOI and TMR are both seeing widespread use. Source: my bachelor's thesis was about assessing future space-grade microcontrollers for our institute which designs electronic circuits for ESA missions and most microcontrollers were radiation-hardened in the ways I mentioned. The ISS has a lot of "normal" laptops, they break more often than normal ones but in general radiation on the ISS isn't that bad, as it is in LEO where it mostly has to deal with a small part of the Van Allen Belt's radiation. $\endgroup$
    – Infrisios
    Jan 2, 2020 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ speaking of non-radiation hardened processors in LEO: Why would Space Cube 1.0 have so many On-Orbit Upsets over South America? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jan 2, 2020 at 12:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.