At seven years from its launch the New Horizon space craft has come back to life. One of NASA’s projects of planetary and space exploration is back on its feet, after New Horizon has woken up from his last hibernation cycle.
The whole system is powered by something we’ve all played with back in the 90’s, its basically the same central processing unit that was used to power up Sony Playstation 20 years ago, the company’s first released console.
Apparently the power system the console was built on, a MIPS R3000 model, is also apt of taking control over the systems of the NASA’S probe. Explained in technical terms, the PSX Sony console uses a 33 MHz R3051, central processing unit while the NASA spacecraft is based on a 12 MHz Mongoose-V one. Basically, the Mongoose-V would be a stronger version of the MIPS R3000 and was specially modified by Synova, the aeronautics company from Florida.
Even though NASA has been the creator of unimaginable machines, the agency is not up for designing and building its own central processing units, being the reason why spacecrafts are made out of hardware which is reconstructed specially for this purpose. Another examples would be the Orion, space craft, which is based on the same IBM central processor unit, that is used for Apple iBooks G3.
The main purpose for which New Horizon has been created was to examine Pluto and its five moons: Nix, Styx, Kerberos, Charon and Hydra, but also other cosmic bodies located in Kuiper belt.
The spacecraft is presently found at almost 13 billion miles away from the planet. By the 14 the of July, the probe will be found at only 6,000 miles from the body of the ice cold planet.
Pluto might open the gates of an unseen planetary world and a new type of planets in the Kuiper Belt. The lead investigator, Alan Stern, said that scientifically speaking the process should act like an orbiting mission. Even after the spacecraft has left Pluto, it would receive new information every week for a period of 16 months.
The mysterious surroundings of our solar system are being inspected by several man made machines. Apart from New Horizon, NASA has sent in outer space another spacecraft meant bring home cosmic clues. The Dawn was sent out to examine the dwarf planet, Ceres, and before spring is here the spacecraft should have arrived its destination.
Image Source: CTA News