Friday, October 30, 2015

Last original NASA member of Voyager team retires

NASA now looking to hire programmers who know obsolete computer languages:
The last original member of the Voyager team has retired. Larry Zottarelli, aged 80, left NASA's employ this week after 55 years on the job. Zottarelli helped to develop Voyager's on-board computers and has worked on the mission since 1975. CNN reports that he was sent on his way with a handshake from actress Nichelle Nicholls, Star Trek's Lt. Uhura. NASA is reportedly seeking a replacement fluent in FORTRAN, Algol and assembly language for the Voyagers' 250 Khz General Electric 18-bit TTL CPUs, complete with single register accumulator and bit-serial access to 2096-word plated-wire RAM.
Wow.  Built to last - both the spacecraft and the programmers.  There were Giants in those days ...

7 comments:

Old NFO said...

He'll be back in a month when something breaks... sigh

gruvinbass said...

My Dad could probably do it, but he's in his 70s, retired, and enjoying it.

Chad

Paul Bonneau said...

Fortran and assembler, I hit two out of three (although one assembler is not identical to the next, once you have the concept it ain't hard). The first computer I ever worked on, the Marine Tactical Data System, almost didn't have any integrated circuits (the only IC used was a shift register - all other logic implemented with discrete diodes, resistors and transistors.

Joshua Sinistar said...

Yes but who needs the limitless resources of outer space? We need that money to feed the nannies and gardeners of cheap billionaires who suck all the life out of our economy and are too cheap to pay the help. Also, those dumb politicos aren't going to get elected unless there are plenty of dumber voters. Whether we import them from failed countries like Mexico or farm them in welfare project farms to grow enough dumb voters to elect guys like Bush and Obama, or we might end up with someone who has the vision to realize that America could be a Superpower again if Americans went back to work. But that's just crazy talk right?

airphoria said...

Ummm...

250 Khz General Electric 18-bit TTL CPUs, complete with single register accumulator and bit-serial access to 2096-word plated-wire RAM

(blink blink)

OK, I could do the FORTRAN, I think I could fake the Algol, but assembler for that gadget will be A Challenge.

Having cut my teeth on Nova and PDP-11 machine code in the very early 80s (going so far as to load a bootloader with console switches), I thought I had some old-school cred. No longer...

Kids learning to program with an Arduino or Raspberry PI have no clue how good that world has become...

Tom Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Lindsay said...

When I took FORTRAN it was done on punched cards.

Will Nichelle Nichols come shake my hand?