NASA Smartphone Satellites Return Pictures of Earth


Smartphones are lightweight computing devices that keep getting more and more powerful. As such, that combination makes them ideal for use in the space program; indeed, we’ve been hearing NASA talk about using smartphones as the hearts of tiny satellites for some time now. Last month, the agency launched a rocket containing three of its PhoneSats, cubical satellites four inches on a side with that old classic the Nexus One tucked within. As they flew through space, the PhoneSats relayed back to ground stations on Earth, and today NASA makes some of what they had to see public, releasing the images above.

These weren’t taken by some special space camera being controlled by the Nexus Ones; no, these come straight from the phones’ five-megapixel cameras themselves. Sure, there are a lot of artifacts here, but those appear to be less a result of the camera and more to do with issues sending that picture data back down to Earth.

We’ve heard NASA talk about experimenting with some higher-end phones for future launches, so we could easily get some more impressive results next time around. Any candidates for what it should send up next? Maybe a PureView 808?

Source: NASA
Via: Computer World

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck

Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen’s first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he’s convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he’s not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits

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