Trivia

Hard

NASA’s New Horizons Probe Shares A CPU With Which Of These Consoles?

The Xbox
The Nintendo 64
The Playstation 1
The Dreamcast

Answer: The PlayStation 1

When New Horizons launched in 2006 as part of NASA’s New Frontiers program, it carried with it an array of scientific equipment, enough fuel to get it to the edges of the solar system and beyond, and the heart of a champion.

OK, we’ll admit, that last bit is perhaps a bit of poetic hyperbole, but the New Horizons probe runs on a radiation-hardened version of the MIPS R3000 CPU which is—and here’s where the heart of a champion bit comes into play—the same CPU that powered the iconic and best selling PlayStation 1 (and PlayStation 2) game console.

Why build the computing core of a super expensive interplanetary probe around a processor designed back in the late 1980s and best known for its role in the guts of a 1990s-era video game console? NASA has never valued speed and power over stability, and while the MIPS R3000 was far from cutting edge at the time the probe was designed and launched, it had it where it counted: it was time tested, stable, and easy to harden and run redundant systems for. After all, if a decade old, $20 garage sale PlayStation 1 still spun up like the day it was purchased, it might just be hardy enough for the depths of space.

Finally, a bit of nostalgic bonus trivia: the year NASA launched New Horizons is the year Sony officially discontinued the PlayStation 1. Although it’s certainly not the case, we’d like to pretend that Sony stayed the insertion of the last chip in the last PlayStation 1 unit before sending it to NASA so that the chip could see the universe.

Trivia

Hard

Simpsons’s Character Milhouse First Appeared Not In A Simpsons Episode But In?

Trivia

Easy

Artificial Grape Flavor Is Modeled After Which Grape Variety?

Trivia

Easy

On The Island Of Lanzarote Chefs Cook Food Over?

Trivia

Hard

The Coldest Known Star Is Only As Warm As What?

Trivia

Hard

Which Mission Was The First And Only Time “Astronaut Ice Cream” Flew In Space?

Trivia

Very Hard

The First Recorded Use Of The Word “Pixel” Was Used To Describe?

Trivia

Very Hard

In The American South, Millions Of People In The Early 1900s Suffered From A Crippling Dietary Deficiency Of?

Trivia

Hard

Which Early Computer Had The Signatures Of Its Design Team Engraved On Its Case?

Trivia

Very Hard

What Popular 1980s Computer Game Blatantly Ripped Off Super Mario Bros?