Two iPhones to hitch a ride on last shuttle mission

The iPhones will be used for space research aboard the International Space Station for several months, according to Odyssey Space Research.

SpaceLab for iOS running on the iPhone 4.
SpaceLab for iOS running on the iPhone 4. Odyssey Space Research

Two iPhone 4s will be on board NASA's final shuttle mission next month.

According to Odyssey Space Research, it has developed an iPhone app, called SpaceLab for iOS, that will be used on the International Space Station for several months this year to conduct space research. The iPhones will get to the ISS on the Atlantis space shuttle.

While in space, those in the International Space Station will complete four experiments. According to Odyssey, a "Limb Tracker" experiment will involve taking pictures of the Earth with the iPhone, and "matching an arc to the horizon through manipulation of an overlay." That experiment, the organization said, will help to "yield an estimate of altitude and 'off-axis' angle, a measurement of the angle of the image with respect to the Earth's center."

In addition, the iPhone 4 will be used in a "sensor calibration experience" that will help to improve the accuracy of future iPhone measurements. The iPhone's gyroscope and accelerometer will be employed to determine the latitude and longitude of the spacecraft.

Finally, the researchers will use the iPhone to measure radiation effects on the smartphone while in space.

To bring earthlings in on the fun, Odyssey has launched its application in Apple's App Store. Users can buy the app for 99 cents and perform the same experiments with information simulated "to account for the presence of gravity."

Odyssey's iPhones are scheduled to launch on July 8 when Atlantis takes off on its final mission.

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