Since some time in the middle of the twentieth century, the world’s superpowers have had a fascination with sending things flying off into space, be they on voyages of discovery or simply demonstrations of technological superiority.
However, one man is aiming to show that the regular folk of earth can do this too, with a project aimed at sending a smartphone into space.
Danny Peir, from Denver, is the brains behind the Astdroid initiative, the target of which is to attach an Android device to a weather balloon and send it way up into the stratosphere. The handset will be running a specially designed app that will record data and capture images and videos, before falling back to earth as the balloon deflates.
While this data will certainly be fascinating, its seems the main idea of sending a phone into space is to make people aware that extra terrestrial exploration is not just the preserve of governments, and that ordinary people can get involved in this kind of research too.
However, a smartphone is far from the strangest thing ever sent into space, with there being several more unusual objects having orbited the earth at some point in time.
Voyager Golden Record
Back in 1977, two probes were launched on a continuing journey that saw them flying off into the far reaches of space. With them, they carried information about our world, including a record made up of music from around the globe including Peruvian pan pipes, a Bach concerto and Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode.
Coke and Pepsi
Coca Cola made a special space-proof can to be carried on the Challenger shuttle in 1985, allowing astronauts to drink in zero gravity conditions. Not to be outdone, Coke’s main rival Pepsi also got in on the act, producing a similar can so that the shuttle crew could have a choice of fizzy beverage.
The fictional cartoon astronaut from the Toy Story films has actually been into space himself, with a 12-inch high doll joining the crew of the International Space Station in 2008. The figure spent a total of 468 days in orbit, appearing in NASA educational videos during this time, and returned to earth in 2009.