Boldly going where no smartphone has gone before
It’s almost exactly fifty-two years since Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin made history by becoming the first man in space. This amazing accomplishment is even more stunning when you learn that there’s infinitely more computing power in your Nokia Lumia 920 than powered his Vostok 1 capsule. Now, thanks to Nokia Turkey and CHIP Magazine, a Nokia Lumia 920 has joined Gagarin and his capsule in the annals of space faring history. To find out more about this amazing voyage we interviewed the team at Mission Control. Here’s what they had to say.
Space’s a very hostile environment. Why did Chip want to send a Nokia Lumia 920 into orbit?
CHIP Magazine is well-known throughout Europe for its extensive hardware testing, and Turkey is no exception. CHIP Turkey wanted to test a smartphone on the edge of space and see whether it would still work in these extreme conditions. We were happy to help them.
This is the second time a Nokia Lumia 920 has reached orbit. How was this experiment different?
This experiment was recorded, from beginning to end. The special test kit housed three Nokia Lumia 920 smartphones, two inside the kit, and one outside the kit. We did the recordings both with the phones and a special camera mounted inside the kit, shooting the Nokia Lumia 920 outside. The smartphones didn’t stop recording at any time during the experiment. And when we retrieved the phones, they were still intact, operational and recording.
What were the main challenges? And how did you overcome them?
The main challenge was the weather conditions. Istanbul is very close to the sea, both on the north and south sides. The wind over 10 000 metres can be very harsh and this meant there was a really big possibility that the kit could land in water.
To lessen that risk, we worked closely with the National Meteorological Center and picked a day when there was less chance of harsh winds. If you check the trajectory of the kit, you’ll see that it travelled more than 150 kilometers. The second challenge was the weight. We had to purchase a special helium balloon and a strong parachute for re-entry.
What new things did we discover about the Nokia Lumia 920?
We discovered that even at below -60 degrees, Nokia Lumia 920 operates without any problems. Plus, high humidity caused by the clouds does not affect the phone. What’s more, it survived an incredible 35 000 meters drop, which even with a parachute is pretty hard going. So we can confirm that the Lumia 920 really is very tough!
If I were an astronaut, how would you sell me the Nokia Lumia 920?
We’d tell you that if you wanted to take photos or shoot videos while walking in space, it seems you can safely use the Nokia Lumia 920. Furthermore, you can use the touch screen with clumsy astronaut gloves. Ideally, in the future, we’d like to take the Nokia Lumia 920 in a Lynx two person suborbital spacecraft, so we can test its space faring features even more.
Some amazing insights into an amazing mission, but what most impresses you about a smartphone that’s boldly gone where no smartphone has gone before?