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Google Search: All the Power of the Apollo Program in One Click

Updated on May 1, 2013
Apollo Stamp
Apollo Stamp | Source

What Else Do We Take For Granted?

Nowadays it might be tough to explain to young people why Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969 was such a miraculous, incredible event. In fact, this event happened before I was born, so space flight and human exploration of space have been the norm for my entire life.

Still, I try to take a step back and get some perspective on life when I can. In the film industry, they call this “pulling back for a long shot.”

I got a chance to pull back for a long shot today when reading Google Inside Search - the official Google Search blog. Posters Udi Manber and Peter Norvig write that:

It takes about the same amount of computing to answer one Google Search query as all the computing done -- in flight and on the ground -- for the entire Apollo program! --Udi Manber and Peter Norvig

Amazing.

Apollo 11 Mission Officials, 1969
Apollo 11 Mission Officials, 1969 | Source

More details: The Apollo Guidance Computer on the Lunar Module carried out instructions at a speed of approximately 40 KHz, which is nearly 100,000 times SLOWER than a good laptop today.

One Google Search query takes as much computing as it took to for the entire 11-year, 17 mission Apollo program that sent to the moon 12 astronauts, including Neil Armstrong.

At this rapid pace of progress, what is coming next?

And what else do we take for granted today?

This reminds me of a point about modern conveniences we take for granted. Comedian Louis C. K. gives an interview on Conan O’Brien’s Late Night called “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy:” Check it out:

Louis C. K. "Everything's Amazing & Nobody's Happy (Late Night with Conan O'Brien)

Google. YouTube. Space Flight.

Life is Good.

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