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Electronic News & Comment

Slideshow: Smartphone Images From Space

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Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Smart phones, cheap space
Charles Murray   8/30/2013 5:42:59 PM
NO RATINGS
It was taken by NASA using the little satellite shown in the photos, A Saji.

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Re: University??
akwaman   8/30/2013 9:10:15 AM
Sigh... I'm sorry a.saji, I don't have time to explain how the world works to you. The only thing simple here, is you. 

a.saji
User Rank
Silver
Re: University??
a.saji   8/29/2013 11:50:54 PM
@akwaman: Do you mean to say that its that simple ? Also do you think any other country – rocket will allow an un-authorized device to be plugged in ?      

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Re: University??
akwaman   8/29/2013 4:21:52 PM
I guess someone missed the point.  Let me spell it out for you... This is like a high school project... could be launched into space on someone elses rocket, and:

 

Cambridge University:

http://www.cusf.co.uk/

I would research more, but I have wasted enough time on this dribble.

 

 

tedo880
User Rank
Iron
University??
tedo880   8/29/2013 3:49:44 PM
You know of a university that launches rockets?

bdcst
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Smart phones, cheap space
bdcst   8/29/2013 3:40:06 PM
NO RATINGS
Naperlou, bigger is better...but not always.  The Nokia phone was probably not available when the project was put together.  And the more photosites you cram onto a tiny imager the lower the light sensitivity.  That's a big tradeoff.  The available real estate for the imager in a cellular handset is rather small.  If your chassis is a full size DSLR camera or shoulder mounted video camera you have the room for a much larger imager and much large optics.  The photosites can be much larger affording far more photon energy collected per pixel.

Without resorting to a strobe or a puny LED camera light a DSLR can produce excellent photos in light way too dark for a cell phone camera.

While single chip video cameras are becoming more and more popular with some even appearing in professional equipment, the workhorse cameras still utilize three chips for best color rendition and uncompromized sensitivity.

BTW, cell phone imagers are typically CMOS.  The older but still very popular imager technology for professional video is the CCD.  But ironically they often develope hot stuck pixels due to cosmic radiation damage.  How long do you suppose a CCD imager could survive in earth orbit before the imager would be pockmarked with hot pixels?

akwaman
User Rank
Gold
Waste of Tax dollars
akwaman   8/29/2013 3:36:24 PM
This is a project that could have been done by a University, not a serious government program.  Considering we already know how to put cameras in space, this is a waste of effort and tax dollars.  I am ashamed of our government for supporting and funding such a program.  And to think they try to play it off like it only cost 3500 dollars.  What a joke:

1.  We paid people to do this (they could have been doing something useful)

2.  We paid to have a rocket send it to space.

3.  We paid to have a bunch of people involved in the launch and logistics

4.  Does this device even have thrusters to keep it in position, or does it just spin around and take picutures randomly?

5.  What happens when the battery runs out after a few hours, or days.

6.  We all wasted time reading this article and commenting on it.  LOL

araasch
User Rank
Silver
Re: Smart phones, cheap space
araasch   8/29/2013 10:58:15 AM
Yes, several DIY balloon projects have shown curvature of the Earth photos, and are significantly less expensive than any NASA launch, sub-orbital or not.


This is not to say that this is not a worthwhile effort on their part.

A better effort for NASA is to focus on developing a realistic goal for the future of human spaceflight that can be used to get the attention of today's youth, their parents, and Congress.

Lacking this, NASA will continue to suffer from shifting priorities and dwindling budgets to the point that missions more complex than this one will be rare.

 

 

etmax
User Rank
Gold
Re: smart(er) phones, nice trick
etmax   8/29/2013 10:30:54 AM
I suspect that because the phones were manufactured such that they could be sold in the EU that they would be lead free. Lead free and vacuum don't mix. My guess is that tin whiskers would bring them down within a month. This is in addition to the radiation hardening needed.

RogueMoon
User Rank
Platinum
smart(er) phones, nice trick
RogueMoon   8/29/2013 9:31:28 AM
I, too, echo the congratulations on the team from NASA sending a set of smart phones above the atmosphere.  Yes, the phones seemed to work just fine for the short while they were in space on the sub-orbital hop.  NASA loves to impress the public and why not?  This kind of innovation does need to be fostered.  It's the quirky things that sometimes shake things up to get something better on its way.  Cheap space?   Perhaps cheap...er

It's a very different story if you need to loiter on orbit for years at a time like most satellites do.  Radiation harm is cumulative.  You just can't simplisticly think "Oh, it worked this time. Why don't we just orbit our smart phones instead of paying big contractors (who know a lot about what works and what doesn't) to build something unnecessarily expensive."  Radiation hardening is VERY necessary if you want months instead of hours of operation.  Play the odds, sure, but the expensive ride up to orbit alone (or even just the human cannonball ride from Wallops) is justification enough to invest in making sure all systems work.  One failure can turn profit and good science into another object for the space junk database.  There's no one floating around on orbit to reboot the smart phone when Android decides to have one of its many "bad days" even while sitting on my desk at sea level.  True, this story's smart phone(s) lasted just long enough.

Sounds like someone ought to research how to make radiation hardening cheaper?  Not many commercial applications for radiation hardened chips today, but if as an old man I take that famed "Pan Am" Kubrick flight to orbit (2001: A Space Odyssey), I'd like to keep my cell phone apps going without interruption.  :)

I wonder if they recovered the payload and how well the phones worked when they came back?

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