One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (that’s SSTL for easy learning) wants to put a smartphone into space. No, not for kicks and giggles, but they want to see if the electronic chips used in current high-end smartphone can withstand harsh conditions of the outer world. The purpose of the experiment is to learn and use ideas and innovations from the smartphone world to lower costs of spacecraft design. That’s the original purpose, but I am sure the underlying purpose is to give out phones to astronauts because its freaking boring staring at stars and planets. They want to take pictures to prove it to their friends and family back at home – pics or it didn’t happen, right?
SSTL will use an Android phone (Google wins this race), utilizing the free, open-source nature of the platform to build a customized version for their space adventures.
The Android device will be used to control a small satellite to take pictures of Earth (I told you!). It will also serve as a backup to the main computer system aboard the aircraft (this also sets it up to the be perfect story board for Dead Space 3!). Of course, the phone will not be able to communicate with other devices on mother Earth (3G towers are not that powerful – it barely works on Earth!), so the device will use the satellite’s communication powers to send back data from it.
If this little endeavor is successful, it has the potential to unlock some seriously cool applications in the near future. Space Racer Extreme Pro anyone?