Smartphone from Guildford to pilot spacecraft

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Modern mobile phones are incredible things. You can make phone calls and send and receive text messages, true, but nobody really does those things very much. They can also be used to surf the interwebs, take high-quality photographs, and much more – including, of course, playing games where you collect yellow coins and make astoundingly slow progress unless you spend real money on pretend objects. Now, scientists (possibly wearing long white coats and carrying clipboards) are testing to see if ‘control satellites’ can be added to the above list.

This new development in science was reported, appropriately enough, by New Scientist. A satellite by the name of STRaND-1 is already in orbit, with a Nexus One phone running Android sitting happily inside. The Nexus One was bought from a high street shop in Guildford, which is where the team responsible is based. Right now, the on-board Linux-based computer is giving the commands. Pretty darn soon though, the team will attempt to give control to the smartphone – hoping that its accelerometers and GPS (and presumably dedicated software) will be enough for it to act as a guidance system. In spaaaaace.

Why? Simply because if this experiment is a success it means that cheap, high street-level electronics can be used for similar outings in the future. Apparently, “the team plans to contact the phone in the next few days”. Rumours that previous attempts have failed due to the phone being barraged with calls from PPI and accident claims companies remain unconfirmed, mainly because we made them up just now.

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Written by Luke K

He plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. He doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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