Latest round of Pioneer Planetary Society data analysis stuff on slashdot
aek at bitsavers.org
Mon Jul 25 12:14:03 CDT 2005
Since Sellam just talked to someone about this..
Here is the only useful bit of information in the discussion:
I talked to the guy who used to run Pioneer...
...and the situation is as follows:
* The data used to be stored on magnetic tape. When the tape started
deteriorating, all the data was archived off onto
then state-of-the-art MO disks.
* The machine used was a MicroVAX with a DEC RWZ21 SCSI MO drive, which
is apparently quite rare. The disks are 128MB each.
* For Pioneer 10, there are 155 disks, making 19840 MB of data.
* For Pioneer 11, there are 217 disks, making 27776 MB of data.
* Each disk takes about 10 minutes to read to the MicroVAX, and then
more time to move across onto a real computer, of course.
I would have happily volunteered to spend a couple of days swapping
disks in order to salvage all this lot, but alas, I'm the wrong side of
the Atlantic. The guy in charge has recently been made redundant, and
he was desperate to find someone to hand off all this to... but there's
incredible beaurocracy. (I gather all the data was actually supposed to
have been destroyed some years ago, but through some 'oversight' hadn't
Alas, I don't have permission to publish his address, but I'll put him
in touch with the Planetary Society on the off chance he doesn't know
Interestingly, for years he ran the Pioneer spacecraft off a Mac Quadra
950! Check out the screen shots [nasa.gov]...
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