Android’s adventures in space continue! Last December, Android ventured into near space through a combination of DIY work, some Nexus S phones, and some weather balloons. From that point on, it became clear that Android was destined to boldly go where no Android has gone before; NASA agreed. On its final mission, Atlantis carried aboard two Nexus S phones as part of STS-135′s mission. NASA is utilizing the Nexus S to upgrade a trio of volleyball sized SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) used to record sensor data and video footage. In the future, the phones will control and maneuver the SPHERES using the IOIO board and possibly the Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK).
The Nexus phones are also preloaded with an open source sensor logging app developed by Google, which NASA deemed perfect for running diagnostics with the SPHERES.
NASA was interested in Android primarily because it’s an open source platform, which makes it easy to customize the software on the phone to meet the specifications required to fly in space and work with the SPHERES. The Nexus S was also a good fit because of its various sensors and low-powered, but high-performing, processor.
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