The CPU from the original PlayStation is guiding a probe to Pluto

You probably already know that your smartphone is more powerful than the computers used to land astronauts on the Moon. But did you know that the processor used in the original Sony PlayStation is currently guiding a space probe the size of a grand piano towards Pluto? Yep, the same MIPS R3000 CPU that once rendered graphics for Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid was repurposed by NASA in 2006 to fire thrusters, monitor sensors, and transmit data from the New Horizons space probe. You may have thought defeating Ruby Weapon was an achievement but try orchestrating a gravity-assisted flyby past Jupiter on a four-hour time delay.

NASA’s engineers don’t need power; they need reliability

This isn’t unusual behavior for NASA though, as...

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