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February 24, 2012 5:40 AM   Subscribe

What is this machine appearing in a 1950 space exploration movie?

From the context, designing a rocket in an engineering office, I would assume that it's some sort of mechanical calculator or mechanical computer. I was hoping that the hive mind could confirm or deny that and give some more specifics - manufacturer, model, is this the same kind of thing as the 50s fire control computers from this MeFi post or maybe a more general-purpose machine?
posted by XMLicious to Technology (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Looks like a Differential Analyzer, used to calculate the trajectory of the moon rocket.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:59 AM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was completely unaware of starringthecomputer but now I'm going to have to spend part of my morning poking around there.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:07 AM on February 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks Brandon!

Yeah, starringthecomputer from Brandon's link looks awesome. It gives other movie appearances for the GE Differential Analyzer. Wayback Machine archive of a web page about one. Google Books has the manual scanned but there's no preview of it right now, which is a shame since it's probably out of copyright. Wikipedia entry on Differential Analyser.
posted by XMLicious at 6:18 AM on February 24, 2012

I was unaware of it also, all I did was google "Destination Moon Computer", figuring that someone else had already asked that question. Starringthecomputer was the first link.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:46 AM on February 24, 2012

Response by poster: Bah! I thought I'd tried that myself but I must not have. Oh well, at least your best answer stats are bumped up.
posted by XMLicious at 8:45 AM on February 24, 2012

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