Google engineers recently catapulted 7 Nexus S smartphones to the edge of space using huge helium-filled weather balloons.
The smartphones were encased in styrofoam beer coolers – attached to the balloons – with their cameras facing a clear plastic-cut out in the side.
All but 6 of the modded beer coolers returned to earth, leaving engineers with a virtual treasure trove of accelerometer, gyroscopic and compass data.
Nexus S product manager Zi Wang told the NewScientist that while the first launch was conducted just for fun, it wouldn’t be the last time Google lofted a smartphone into space.
Indeed, the Mountain View-based company is currently in talks with a UK-based satellite manufacturer to design small “commodity” satellites based on core Nexus S technology. ”[Yes], the phone is [certainly] powerful enough,” he added.