NASA has been using smartphones in space for a couple years at this point.
But you can’t just take any old smartphone aboard the space shuttle. As with any object that leaves Earth’s atmosphere, you have to be selective and picky.
NASA revealed the process it uses to get a smartphone ready for space travel, reports Ars Technica.
Since engineers need to tinker with the insides of the phone to get it ready, they favour the Nexus S as it’s easily disassembled by removing six screws on the back.
It’s then tricked out to run on AA batteries, since they “degrade more nicely,” according to project lead Mark Micire. When it comes to the hypothetical worst case scenario, Instead of catching fire or exploding, AA batteries will simply leak fluid, which is much easier to contain.
The phones are also loaded up with an app called Sensor Data Logger for tracking how the phones perform in microgravity. This app is actually readily available in Google Play.
The computers aboard the International Space Station are all ThinkPad T61p laptops running Windows XP Service Park 3, and this configuration has historically not gotten along well with the Nexus S. Micire ended up determing an unofficial workaround that got the phones to play along nicely with the computers.
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