First iPhone in Space
The last space shuttle launch is scheduled towards the end of this year and its going to be carrying some special cargo. Two iPhone 4’s will be on board running special software designed by Odyssey Space Research.
Once the space shuttle docks with the International Space Station, the crew members will use the iPhones to conduct four experiments, using the iPhones’ cameras, gyroscopes, and other sensors.
[quote]”I’m pretty sure this is the very first iPhone to go into space,” said Odyssey CEO Brian Rishikof.[/quote]
The debut of the iPhone 4 in 2010 inspired the Odyssey team to create iOS based space experiments as the new phone had a built in gyroscope. The company has developed software and simulations for guidance and navigation used in several spacecraft; a gyroscope means that the iPhone could potentially be used to determine a vehicle’s orientation in space as well as its position.
The four experiments are:
- A “limb tracker,” which lets astronauts take a picture of the Earth’s limb (its curved edge). The app then estimates the iPhone’s altitude.
- A sensor calibration tool that uses camera images plus multiple sensors to calibrate the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometers.
- Latitude and longitude estimation using photos of the Earth and matching them to wireframes of coastlines.
- A test to see if space radiation affects computer memory by watching for unintended changes to single bits in the iPhones’ RAM.