Trivia

Hard

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

The Nintendo 64
The Dreamcast
The Playstation 1
The Xbox

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

Which G.I. Joe Character Was Introduced To Save Money On Manufacturing Costs?

Trivia

Very Hard

In Video Games Temporary Bonuses Are Referred To As?

Trivia

Very Hard

Electronic Arts Had To Recall A Tiger Woods Golf Game Because It Contained?

Trivia

Hard

NASA Carefully Timed Space Shuttle Flights To Avoid What?

Trivia

Easy

The Largest Consumer Of Fireworks In The United States Is?

Trivia

Hard

The Stinky Scent Of The 1980s He-Man Action Figure “Stinkor” Was Created With?

Trivia

Easy

U.S. Presidential Retreat, Camp David, Is Named After?

Trivia

Easy

Which Creature Can Hold Its Breath The Longest?

Trivia

Hard

The First Comic Book Superhero To Get Rebooted Into A New Character Was?

Trivia

Hard

During The Japanese Nakizumo Festival Sumo Wrestlers Attempt To?