Scientists Launch Smartphone Into Space to See if it Can Hear You Scream

February 25, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

As you read this, an intrepid Google Nexus smartphone is blasting through space, where it will continue to orbit the Earth for the next six months. Today marks the launch of a multi-faceted experiment designed by a team of researchers from England’s University of Surrey, who hope to test several theories on outerspace physics, screams, the tracking abilities of our satellites, and more.

Determined to debunk or verify the myth behind Alien’s famous tagline, “In space, no one can hear you scream,” the team has developed the “Scream in Space” app, which will play recordings of screams– submitted by visitors to the project’s website–and then see whether the phone’s speakers are able to pick up the sounds. Since space is supposedly a vacuum with no molecules, sound vibrations cannot be carried, so the saying is theoretically legit– but it hasn’t been practically tested until now.

The mission will also help determine how durable standard commercial electronics are in space, as well as two newly developed propulsion systems. The smartphone, known as STRaND-1, will document its journey using a built in 360-degrees megapixel camera app. Images captured will be posted on Facebook periodically.