Early yesterday morning, the New Horizons space probe made its way past Pluto and its five moons, a whopping nine and a half years after its launch. This mission has already provided us with the highest resolution images of Pluto we've ever had. While this mission is providing scientists and space enthusiasts with a bunch of new information, there is a fun fact about the probe that gamers will enjoy. It turns out that when NASA designed the probe all those years ago, they decided to use the same CPU found in the original PlayStation to guide it!
When it comes to technology, NASA has often opted against cutting-edge devices in favor of those which are proven to hold up well. For example, the Orion spacecraft (which hopefully will take humans to Mars) will be controlled by an IBM CPU that was produced in 2002. While the MIPS R3000 CPU may have held up running Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII, surviving a nine and a half year space journey is a different story. The New Horizons CPU does a number of tasks, including firing the thrusters, monitoring the sensors, and transmitting data (like those high-resolution images) back to Earth! In order to protect these vital processes, NASA had to modify the chip slightly in order to withstand the radiation found in outer space.
So next time you think that your outdated technology is worthless, think again!
Source: The Verge