A handful of Google engineers, students from UC Santa Cruz and seven styrofoam beer coolers each packed with a Nexus S sure sound like a lot of geek fun. Start attaching weather balloons and talk about sending the phones to the edge of outer space, and it just got serious. That's exactly what happened as this team set out to test the Nexus S sensors in the cold, harsh conditions of high altitude flight, using apps like Google Maps and Google Sky Map.
After three hours or so, the balloons popped and the phones (and their coolers!) came back to earth, chock full of useful data that Google plans to use with a UK satellite manufacturer to build small "commodity" satellites using core Nexus S technologies. According to Zi Wang, a product manager for the Nexus S, "The phone is powerful enough." And to think the hardest task I'll ever give to my Android phone is to remind me where I parked. There's a video you don't want to miss after the break. [NewScientist via tecca; Engadget]