You know how the mobile carriers charge you a couple cents to SMS a few characters' worth of text over their network? When you add it up, you're paying about a zillion bucks a meg for that traffic — seriously! A space scientist from Leicester has calculated that SMS data is four times more expensive than receiving data from the Hubble space telescope.
He worked out the cost of obtaining a megabyte of data from Hubble – and compared that with the 5p cost of sending a text.
He said: "The bottom line is texting is at least 4 times more expensive than transmitting data from Hubble, and is likely to be substantially more than that.
"The maximum size for a text message is 160 characters, which takes 140 bytes because there are only 7 bits per character in the text messaging system, and we assume the average price for a text message is 5p. There are 1,048,576 bytes in a megabyte, so that's 1 million/140 = 7490 text messages to transmit one megabyte. At 5p each, that's £374.49 per MB – or about 4.4 times more expensive than the 'most pessimistic' estimate for Hubble Space Telescope transmission costs."
Dr Bannister said it had been difficult to work out exactly how much Hubble data transmission costs. So he contacted NASA who gave him a firm figure of £8.85 per megabyte (MB) for the transmission of data from HST to the Earth.