Trivia

Hard

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

The Nintendo 64
The Xbox
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

Very Hard

The First Commercially Viable Strain Of Penicillin Was Created From Mold Found On A?

Trivia

Hard

The Term “Jaywalking” Derives Its Name From?

Trivia

Hard

The Name of Google’s Short-Lived “Wave” Collaboration Framework Was Inspired By Which Sci-Fi Show?

Trivia

Easy

Which Of These North American Mammals Has A Sophisticated Language System?

Trivia

Very Hard

Who Is The Longest Recurring Actor In Any Video Game Franchise?

Trivia

Very Hard

The First Sitting U.S. President To Receive A Speeding Ticket Was?

Trivia

Very Hard

In the 1920s, Americans Saved The Economy of Ecuador By Consuming Millions Of?

Trivia

Hard

What Common Food Stuff Was Used As Theatrical Blood In Many Mid-20th Century Films?

Trivia

Hard

People In The Medieval Era Believed The Fossils Of What To Be Petrified Dragon Tongues?

Trivia

Hard

In The Original Batman TV Show, Batman’s Utility Pouches Were Made Of?