Sending the balloons up also gave Google an opportunity to capture some stunning imagery and videos of Earth using the new Nexus S Android smartphone. At Google, they are all about exploration with the Nexus S. It’s no surprise that some of your favorite products are built right into the Nexus S to let you explore the world in ways never before possible. Google Maps on the Nexus S lets you find your way all around the world and Google Sky Map lets you explore the skies right from your Nexus S Android device.
Google took some cues from others who have sent homemade weather balloon rigs far up into space, and Google also wanted an opportunity to collect some interesting data about the sensors in Nexus S such as the GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer. Recently, Google travelled to Ione, California and sent seven payloads up, up, and away into near space, each equipped with a Nexus S. Well, Google wanted to do a little exploring of their own, so they decided to venture into near space, with the help of some Nexus S Androids. Google Earth lets you explore the planet in detail, complete with trees and oceans also Google couldn’t resist what looked like a great way to spend a weekend.
The Nexus S Android Platform For Going Into Space
Google worked with UCSC student Greg Klein to prepare each of the payloads including the Nexus S, which were housed in foam coolers. Every payload with a Nexus S had an APRS transmitter attached to a GPS that was known to work at high altitudes, as well as batteries for power. The Nexus S phones were running a variety of apps: Google Maps for Mobile 5.0 (with offline map data) which allowed Google to see what was directly below the balloon, Google Sky Map to see if they could identify the real stars in the backdrop, Latitude to report location when the Nexus S phones had a data connection, and their own custom sensor logging app that sampled all the available sensors on the Nexus S device.
Google even manned the Nexus S payloads with some special astronauts which were small Android robots, and boy did they fly. Google then secured a nylon load line to the cooler and attached to it a radar reflector, a parachute, and finally, a weather balloon. Well, first the Android platform provides a robust development environment and Nexus S has a great set of embedded sensors, both of which made it easy for Google to write the apps they needed for this project. How did Google get the little Android commanders that high up? The payload was different for each balloon some had digital cameras taking pictures and some had video cameras mounted at various angles (up, down, and at the horizon) as well as the attached Nexus S mobile phones.
What Did Google Find Out About The Nexus S Android Mobile ?
Google also clocked one of the payloads at 139 mph at its fastest. In tracking the sensors on each of the Nexus S Android phones, Google observed that the GPS in Nexus S could function up to altitudes of about 60,000 ft. In the end, the Google team recovered all of the payloads sent up, they even recovered the payload they sent as a test a week prior to the actual launch of the Nexus S mobiles. They collected some interesting data: Maximum Speed: 139 mph Maximum Altitude: 107,375 ft (over 20 miles, or over 30 km) Maximum Ascent Rate: 44 m/s Average Flight Duration: 2 hours, 40 minutes Average Descent Time: 34 minutes. By analyzing all the collected data, Google were able to find some interesting trends. For instance, they determined the speed and altitude of the jet stream at about 130mph at 35,000 ft. The Nexus S payloads collected a lot of data, and many reached high altitudes, with the highest topping out at 107,375 ft. Google also saw that Nexus S could withstand some pretty harsh temperatures (as low as -50˚C) at 20 miles high, or over three times the height of an average commercial jet.
Watch The Video Below For The Full Story Of The Nexus S Android In Space
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