Orion, NASA’s next-generation deep space vehicle, is going to eventually fly to Mars – run by a computer that’s no smarter than your smartphone.

Orion, whose launch this morning was delayed until at least Friday, doesn’t carry state-of-the-art computers and its processors are 12 years old — making them ancient in tech years. The spacecraft, according to one NASA engineer, is built to be rugged and reliable in the face of G forces, massive amounts of radiation and the other rigors of space.

When a spacecraft is designed to carry humans into deep space, reliability is more important than using the latest and most powerful computers, said Matt Lemke, NASA’s deputy manager for Orion’s avionics, power and software team.

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