PlayStation CPU powers the space probe destined for Pluto

The CPU that powered the original Playstation console is now being used to guide the New Horizons space probe, which recently completed a successful trip to Pluto and transmitted new images of the planet back to Earth, The Verge reports. The CPU in question is a MIPS R3000, which has been re-purposed to fire thrusters, monitor sensors, as well as transmit data.


The MIPS R3000 CPU was originally used in the PlayStation console back in 1994, and it ran at a clock speed of 33.8688MHz. It was implemented in the New Horizons Space Probe by NASA back when it launched in the year 2006. Since then, the probe has traveled over three billion miles in order to reach Pluto.

According to The Verge, NASA has a history of giving preference to “tried-and-tested” hardware over brand new technology, which it feels may end up being riskier in practice. In this case, reliability is given precedence over power, as a result of which the 12-year-old MIPS R3000 has been incorporated into the probe.

NASA is known for employing gaming hardware in its space projects. Previously, it has used the Kinect and Oculus Rift in order to maneuver a robotic arm in real time. The space administration is also planning on incorporating Microsoft’s Hololens Augmented Reality headset in the International Space Station, where it will guide and support individuals with everyday work.

What you think about the 12-year old Playstation hardware being used in the New Horizons space probe? Let us know in the comments below.

Muhammad Ali Bari

Reviews Editor at GearNuke

View all posts