Look who is joining the two Apple iPhones on their outer space jaunt. Space shuttle Atlantis will have on board two Google Nexus S phones, along with the Apple devices already picked, when it travels into orbit at 11:26 am (Eastern Time). This, incidentally, will be the 135th and last flight of the shuttle program.
The International Space Station that looks to expand the features of SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) will add the Nexus S devices, spruced up with floating pods. This would mean that the devices can be controlled from the ground. The phones will also sport cameras that provide a first-person view.
SPHERES, the drones used to test spacecraft techniques and satellite maintenance, have been developed at MIT and have been in use on the ISS since 2006. The phones inside the shuttle will play the role of remote-operated robots that will aid the shuttle crew in carrying out their tasks.
The Android devices will be attached to the bowling ball-size orbs, which would be used to undertake inspections and also check inventory and supplies aboard the ISS. If things go as planned the first experiments to install the phones on SPHERES will get underway by September or October.
As per what CNet heard from DW Wheeler of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center,
“The goal is to find out how we can use telerobotics to increase the efficiency of human explorers and ground controller.”
The phones aboard the ISS will look at keeping ISS crew members focused on their missions without any distractions.
With Apple and Google devices together being part of this American space mission, it looks like the technological leap that has been triggered by the two major smartphone platforms is indeed skyrocketing. Tell us your take on this.