Even if you aren’t a science or space geek, chances are you might have heard or seen the news in which photos of the planet Pluto are being captured as we speak. In fact as it stands, there is a space probe being sent to the planet, but here’s an interesting fact: it turns out that the probe that is being sent to Pluto is actually powered by the original PlayStation’s CPU.
Now you would think that probes and space equipment in general would be powered by the latest and greatest technology, and while that’s true to a certain extent, it does make for interesting discussion that the probe being used in 2015 relies on a CPU made for a console released back in 1994, about two decades ago. The CPU itself is the MIPS R3000 CPU which was repurposed by NASA back in 2006.
So why use such old technology? It turns out that NASA generally prefers to rely on technology that has been tried and tested versus the latest, which makes sense because if something goes wrong in space, it’s not as if you could easily call in a technician to go out there and fix it, so by using a piece of technology that has proven itself to be reliable, that’s one less problem they’ll have to deal with.
It turns that NASA made the right choice too. The probe was originally launched in 2006 meaning that it has been traveling in space for the past 9 years, and it is now on its final approach to Pluto where it is moving at a speed of approximately 36,373mph, which is admittedly very impressive for a chip that’s a little over two decades old. Really makes you look at your PlayStation very differently now, does it?