Feeds

Nexus 1 put in orbit to prove 'in space, no one can hear you scream'

WARP-DRIVE-fitted shrieking mobe strapped to publicity-sat

Boost IT visibility and business value

Surrey-based space boffins have put a Google Nexus 1 into orbit to see how an Android phone copes with the rigours of space - and whether they can hear it scream.

The handset hasn't been switched on yet. It's being carried in STRaND-1: a 4.3kg microsatellite that was itself carried into space by an Indian rocket, ISRO PSLV-C20, and is now happily in touch with the ground.

The STRaND-1 team, drawn from the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology, reckons it will take a couple of weeks to get the micro-bird commissioned after which they'll be booting up the Nexus 1 and (all being well) handing over control to the Android handset. The phone is physically unmodified but is running the boffins' software and is hooked up via USB.

Once in command, the Nexus 1 will take some snaps with its integrated camera and measure changes in the surrounding magnetic field using its built-in magnometer. It'll also play videos of people screaming and try to record the performance using its microphone and a separate camera. This, er, experiment was cooked up by Cambridge University students as a homage to the Alien movie tagline "in space no one can hear you scream".

The screaming is quite silly given the way sound fails to propagate through the vacuum of space (much to the annoyance of many a Hollywood director), but it serves to publicise the project. The second camera will also record another screen showing the satellite's telemetry.

The STRaND-1 is one of six microsatellites launched by ISRO PSLV-C20 (along with a proper bird designed for oceanological studies), and the only one from the UK.

When it's not fiddling with its smartphone, STRaND-1 will test out a WARP DRiVE, which disappointingly turns out to involve squirting alcohol mist to trigger reentry (hence the name Water Alcohol Resistojet Propulsion Deorbit Re-entry Velocity Experiment) rather than anything likely to attract the attention of a passing Vulcan scout ship. But it could prove very useful to future microsatellites along with the Pulsed Plasma Thruster it will also be testing.

Radio amateurs may wish to pick up STRaND-1's transmissions from space, while the rest of us can drop into the Facebook page or watch the team's Twitter feed to see if the Nexus 1 can stand up to cosmic radiation and hard vacuum, and if the Vulcans are more observant than one might imagine. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
TRANSMUTATION claims US LENR company
Ten points of stuff out of a five pound bag
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
BAT-GOBBLING urban SPIDER QUEENS swell to ENORMOUS SIZE
But they'd lose a deathmatch against the coming Humvee-sized, armoured Arctic ones
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?