spacelab, iphone appThis news item, courtesy of Mashable, got my attention because it is oh-so-very-cool. “The final, much-delayed mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis, which has a 30% chance of lifting off this Friday, will be carrying with it the planet’s first astro-phones — a pair of Apple iPhone 4s, ready for a first-of-its-kind experiment aboard the International Space Station, using a $1 app.

The app, SpaceLab for iOS, uses the iPhone 4?s in-built three-axis gyroscope to replace far more expensive custom-built equipment. It will measure altitude, the curvature of the Earth, and locate itself by looking for recognizable coastline via the iPhone camera. (Astronauts aboard the ISS will be taking the snapshots…)”

From the iTunes description… “The primary purpose of these experiments is to collect data for future flights, to improve the sensor accuracy and precision, and to demonstrate some of the basic capabilities intrinsic to iPhone but uniquely applied to the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) space environment.”

Once the experiment and iPhones are returned to Earth and analyzed, it will be made available to users as part of a new release.”

You can pick up the app here. Remarkable, I still haven’t jumped on to the iPhone bandwagon… I have to resort to my second generation iPod Touch.