Government, Intel Produce
Nuke-Proof Computer Chip
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. government and Intel Corp. have teamed up to develop a radiation-proof computer chip that could help shield satellites from nuclear blasts in space.
The new computer microprocessor is the result of work by Intel and the government's Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.
Intel, the largest manufacturer of microprocessors, will provide the government with "existing technology that then allows them to go off and build a radiation-hardened product," said a source close to the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity and would reveal no details about the chip.
Intel is scheduled to announce the new technology Tuesday at its headquarters in Santa Clara, California, with Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and NASA Administrator Dan Goldin expected to attend, the source said.
The trade newsletter Defense Week, in an edition being published Monday, said the new chip would one day enable systems aboard satellites and other space vehicles to withstand the effects of a nuclear detonation.
The article said U.S. intelligence agencies are increasingly worried about the possibility that a potential enemy could disrupt satellite surveillance and communications simply by firing a nuclear weapon straight up and detonating it in space.