The boys at NASA have been making headlines after hitting the sand dunes of Mars with their mini go-cart, Curiousity, and it looks like they have a few more surprises in store. A team from NASA’s Ames Research Center has been hard at work developing miniature satellites — called a “PhoneSat” — powered by, none other, than the OG Nexus One and Nexus S. NASA has spent the last few years putting these PhoneSats and the devices inside through the paces, testing them in a variety of situations, destroying a few prototypes in the process.
Currently, the team has 2 nanosatellite prototypes that will be sent up into space at different times. To see if something like this is even possible, the first will consist of a Nexus One, external batteries, external radio beacon, all inside a comfy 10x10x10cm shell. If the PhoneSat 1.0 is a success, the team will send up the PhoneSat 2.0 with the more powerful Nexus S inside and featuring a 2-way S-band radio, solar panels, and GPS receiver.
At $3,500 to build, NASA’s goal is to launch the “lowest-cost satellites ever flown into space,” and plans to send ’em on up later this year aboard the Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket. With plans to send future PhoneSats to the moon, it shouldn’t be long before we see the Galaxy Nexus making an orbital space trip for itself, finally at home amongst the galaxies.