NASA Not Sure If Space Shuttle Computers Understand New Year's
from the can't-figure-this-out-yet? dept
It's no secret that the space shuttle is now based on very old technology. In fact, even NASA admits that it's the equivalent of an old pickup truck. In fact, at times, NASA has turned to the likes of eBay to pick up old pieces like 8086 chips to replace original parts on the shuttle. So, perhaps it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to then find out that NASA isn't at all comfortable that the shuttle's computers can survive New Year's in space. Yes, that's right. The folks at NASA have worked hard to make sure that a space shuttle is never in space from December 31st to January 1st of any year, for fear that its computers would go haywire in a Y2K manner -- perhaps causing serious damage to the ability of the shuttle to continue its mission. Still, you would think they'd be able to, you know, test that sort of thing out -- but NASA says they simply have no idea what would happen, and they'd like to avoid finding out. They're not all that worried, but a statement like the following hardly seems confident: "if we have an 'Oh my god,' and we have to be up there, I am sure we would figure out a way to operate the vehicle safely.... It just wouldn't be flying in the normal certified mode that we are used to flying." If I were one of the astronauts, hearing "I am sure we would figure out a way..." can't be the most comforting of thoughts.