Engineers Use Apollo 11’s Computer System To Mine Bitcoin

A team of computer historians have come across on one of the original Apollo Guidance Computers (AGC) which was used to control navigation on the historic Apollo 11 carrying Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969. The team has managed to rev up the AGC.

One of the team members, Ken Shirriff, a specialist in reverse engineering, said that they have worked out a code that enabled them to mine Bitcoin on one of the first integrated circuit-based computers that were used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The process involved in generating trillions of random numerical sequences until the right one was found, resulting in a block being successfully mined.

However, even after successfully running a Bitcoin mining program on it, Shirriff said that the AGC, having a hash power of 10.3 seconds per hash, it would take close to “4×10^23” seconds to actually find a block. That is, roughly, a billion times as long as the whole age of the universe, which is believed to be 13.8 billion years old.

In other words, it would take longer than a hundred generations for the AGC to mine a single block of Bitcoin.

In comparison, the Antminer S9, a popular ASIC bitcoin miner developed by Chinese mining giant Bitmain exclusively for mining crypto, advertises a hash rate of around 13 terahash, or 13 trillion hashes per second (TH/s).

In a blog post, Shirriff said:

“The Apollo program cost 25.4 billion dollars as of 1973, equivalent to about 150 billion dollars today. The current market cap of Bitcoin is 200 billion dollars, so if NASA had been mining Bitcoins, they could have paid for the whole Apollo program and still had money left over.
One flaw in this plan is the Apollo Guidance Computer’s low performance, since mining a block would take much more than the lifetime of the universe.”

A major metrics for miners, hash rate is the number of calculations that a given hardware or network can perform every second.