The Curiosity rover on Mars isn't the only thing NASA is busy with these days. According to reports, NASA is getting ready to send a pair of cube-shaped nano-satellites weighing just over 2 pounds into space, but just as interesting as the size and weight is the fact that they're powered by Android smartphones. It's part of a nifty project called PhoneSat overseen by the agency's Small Spacecraft Technology program.
HTC's Nexus One (PhoneSat 1.0) and Samsung's Nexus S (PhoneSat 2.0) are the two lucky Android devices making the trip to space, InformationWeek reports. Size and costs are the two main benefits to using Android smartphones. The PhoneSat 1.0, which will take pictures and record its position in space, consists of the Nexus One phone, batteries, radio beacon, and a watchdog circuit that add up to around $3,500. NASA's PhoneSat 2.0 adds solar panels and a GPS receiver, so it costs a little more, but overall NASA is looking at spending about $50,000 for the launch, compared to hundreds of millions of dollars for a typical satellite.
The first Android-powered satellite is expected to launch by the end of the year on the Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket, Forbes reports. If the launch is successful, PhoneSat 2.0 will follow suit.