Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Dubbed Astdroid, a new project by Danny Pier hopes to raise a small amount of funding between now and July 7th to launch a smartphone running the Android operating system (specifically Danny’s Sprint EVO 4G phone) into space. He plans to use a weather balloon launch vehicle and to raise the phone to around 35,000 meters. The phone would take pictures and return to earth via parachute once the balloon pops.

It’s a cool idea, with all sorts of possible problems. But what I find most interesting and exciting is the simple idea of just trying it.

I can relate to Pier’s frustration with the idea that the next time NASA will set foot on another terrestrial body it will be Mars (not the Moon), and it will happen sometime around 2035. I’ll be 68 years old in 2035, and while I certainly plan to last that long, I would love to see something more happen before then.

If NASA isn’t going to do it (which is a mistake of huge proportions in my book), then it’s up to us to stake baby steps and push for private space exploration, in whatever forms it might take.

Pier’s plan is to run software on the Android that will collect location and image data, transmitting back the location data in real time. He wants to recover the phone when it gets back to earth, gather the data and images from the phone, and use it again to do the same thing. He plans to share the software he uses so others can also explore.

The entrepreneurial spirit is powerful. Fun, relatively simple projects like this (well, simple compared to the space shuttle, at least) are a great way to encourage others to fuel the private space race, and I hope Pier’s passion rubs off on others.

And any Android phone is orders of magnitude more powerful computer-wise than anything that flew on an Apollo mission, and even more advanced than a lot of what’s flown on many of the space shuttle missions.

I’ve contributed to his effort, and I hope you will too. An investment in imagination and passion is always worthwhile.

And honestly, this is something I’d love to try someday, myself. :)

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Geek Out | Mobile | Tech
Tuesday, 15 June 2010 08:06:00 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Tuesday, 13 July 2010 01:50:28 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
Is sending a smartphone into space really as cheap as 2,000 dollars? Cant really believe the figures, but the idea is great!
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