There have definitely been times over the last few years when I’ve wanted to take my cell phone and throw it as hard as I possibly could. But my phone definitely would not have made it into Earth’s orbit. Probably due to something scientific and not just weak upper arms.
The Indian Space Research Organization and French Space Agency sent the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle hurtling up into the sky on Monday, carrying a load of seven satellites of different shapes, sizes, and functions. Included among the cargo: a smartphone with the mission of testing that old adage that in space no one can hear you scream.
For instance, a Google Nexus phone will be used for a satellite developed by the University of Surrey’s Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL). Though it will be controlled by a standard computer initially, the phone and its wealth of apps will soon take fate into its own hand apps to do things such as record its own magnetic field while orbiting the Earth, which it will do for the next six months.
But the real mouth-hugging part about it is Cambridge University Space Flight’s “Scream in Space” app, which will take user-submitted screams and play videos of them while in space to see if the onboard microphone picks it up. Ridley Scott lied to us about Prometheus. Don’t let Alien be a lie, too! Images and updates for the satellite can be found on its Facebook page and Twitter account.
To recap the other groundbreaking devices onboard, the SARAL satellite will monitor all oceanic properties; the Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite (NEOSSat) will look for giant asteroids lurking around our planet; and Canada’s Sapphire is the nation’s first military satellite, which will track space debris and other satellites. We’ll let you know if this motley squad of overachievers sends anything positive back our way. But I ask you this: would a black hole be more or less frightening if it also screamed nonstop?