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Posted by on Mar 29, 2010 in Greg | 1 comment

Cosmic Rays Behind Toyotas’ Troubles?

As a Toyota driver, I found this article by Discovery News’ resident Astrophysicist/Space Geek Ian O’Neill weirdly absorbing.

Cosmic Rays bombard Earth The premise is that whilst Toyota struggle to find the root causes behind the inexplicable acceleration woes that forced them to recall millions of their vehicles recently, federal regulators in the US are now investigating whether this ‘sudden acceleration’ is being triggered by high energy particles from space.

Cosmic rays are known to impact our atmosphere and we know they can damage sensitive electronics in space and in near-earth orbit situations. Rays are also able to penetrate through Earths’ atmosphere and computer system glitches and spikes are regularly attributed to the effects that cosmic rays have on electronic equipment and sensitive computer chips.

Could it be that Toyota has become the first recorded case of automobile technology being impacted by single cosmic ray events? After all, Toyota has been a world leader in car electronic controls, adding more sensitive processors to onboard computers, could it be that they have fallen foul of these high energy space invaders?

As the somewhat sceptical O’Neill suggests: “it’s not totally out of the realms of possibility, so it is prudent to investigate the matter further especially as our computer technology becomes more vulnerable.”

Visit The New Scientist to learn more on cosmic rays and the impact they can have on computers.

1 Comment

  1. Huh? Are our keepers taking back control?

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