If you have been following this blog for some time you may remember a little experiment that I performed involving a and HTC Incredible 2 and a weather balloon. Essentially, I saw that there were a number of people launching devices into near space. These devices took care of GPS data capture, photography, and communications with the ground. I thought that I already had a device that did all this. This device was my everyday smartphone.
It turns out the people of NASA had a similar idea, only on a grander scale. They recognized how much the smartphone has progressed over the last few years and decided to use one as the brains to an actual satellite in orbit.
They are using the original Nexus One with only minor modifications. In order to vet the phone for space they put it through all kinds of testing including vacuum testing at the different temperatures that it would have to endure. It passed with flying colors and was launched into space on February 25th.
The satellites main purpose is to take pictures and relay back various sensor data. The phone is also running the 360 app which will allow us regular people to see what it is up to.
It really is amazing what the modern day mobile device can do with a little intuition and initiative. The next time you are thinking of a business scenario that seems impossible to solve, know that the sky is not the limit when it comes to mobile devices!