Here’s an interesting piece about the Apollo guidance computer, which played an important role in the moon-landing mission. The computer’s read-only memory, which stored the program and various constant data, was a “rope memory,” woven by women working at a factory near Boston. The pattern of the weave determined the “ones” and “zeros” of the permanantly-stored data. (via Isegoria)
Among the strange people who assert that the moon landing was a fake, one of the arguments used is that computers in 1969 lacked the computational capacity to guide such a mission. This ignores the fact that the guidance problem for intercontinental ballistic missiles is similar to that for space flight–do they also believe that the American and Soviet missile fleets were make-believe?
It is interesting, though, to compare the AGC with present-day computers. The AGC clock speed was about 2MHZ…around 500 to 1000 times slower than that of the computer on which you are probably reading this. The computer’s RAM was 2000 words, or 4000 bytes (that’s bytes, not kilobytes or megabytes) and the rope-memory ROM was 36KW, or 72KB.
And here’s a guy who built his own working replica of the AGC.