Google Nexus fired into space to see if screams are audible

A science project to warm the cockles of a xenomorph's acidic heart: The first smartphone satellite will test the "Alien" tagline so you don't have to.

Explorers in Ridley Scott's "Prometheus" weren't afraid to take off their helmets and howl. Kerry Brown

One of the all-time best sci-fi film taglines is to be put to the test. Is it true that "in space no one can hear you scream"?

You could survive exposure to the hard vacuum of space for several seconds, long enough to attempt a yell or yodel. After that, however, bad things will happen.

But thanks to some British boffins at the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology, humanity doesn't need to test the "Alien" tagline firsthand. They've launched a satellite into orbit equipped with a screaming smartphone.

Billed as the first of its kind, the Strand-1 nanosatellite was launched from India today and will test how well a Google Nexus fares in space.

The Nexus has been put through rigorous tests, frozen, heated, and irradiated, and is scheduled to assume control of the satellite.

It will also play back several recorded screams into the void, including the hair-raising kids' yelp in the vid below.

The Scream in Space app will also play this epic "No!," one of several submitted to an online competition, while the phone tries to register any sound.

The competition made it clear that kids are very good at overwhelming microphones on cameras and smartphones.

Meanwhile, Strand-1 will test some novel propulsion methods from its 487-mile sun-synchronous orbit. One produces thrust with a mix of water and alcohol, while the other uses charged gas to move.

Innovative, perhaps. But probably not good enough to outrun a xenomorph ship.

 

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