It is a little surprising to know that the same processor used in your humble PlayStation is the same piece currently directing a multimillion-dollar space probe toward Pluto.
NASA has repurposed the MIPS R3000 CPU that once was part of Sony's original PlayStation to power up the New Horizons space probe.
It is safe to say that NASA has fine-tuned the processor a little bit differently to allow it to survive the radiation bombardments of space but, in essence, it is still the same little chip that let us play our favorite PS games back in 1994.
The MIPS R3000 CPU is known as a reliable piece powering the first PlayStation unit and that is exactly what NASA engineers needed. The chip has been serving the purpose of firing the probes thrusters, monitoring its sensors and most importantly transmitting data back to scientists at NASA since the probe was launched in 2006.
The New Horizons probe has been in space for nine whole years, moving at a speed of about 36,373 miles per hour.
"We've completed the longest journey any spacecraft has flown from Earth to reach its primary target, and we are ready to begin exploring," says Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute.
The probe will explore Pluto and its moons, namely Charon, Hydra, Kerberos, Nix and Styx, before traveling through the vast asteroid belt known as the Kuiper belt
This isn't the first time NASA has opted for a tried-and-tested piece of technology. The upcoming Orion spacecraft, which NASA hopes will one day be able to take humans to Mars, is controlled by an IBM processor that was made back in 2002 and can be found in Apple's iBook G3.