Number 8 on this Cracked PhotoPlasty article made me wonder - what would happen to an unprotected smartphone on the moon?

  • $\begingroup$ Could you please be more specific? Is it about being exposed to vacuum, or temperature, ...? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 6, 2015 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ Answers for both would be interesting. This is just an idle question. $\endgroup$
    – Joe L.
    Mar 6, 2015 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ Day side or night side? $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2015 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ Day side or night? If you're talking the solar effects in the smart phone then the moon doesn't have a dark side! That's only the way we see it. $\endgroup$
    – ThePlanMan
    Mar 7, 2015 at 1:16

1 Answer 1


Meaningful differences between Earth surface environment and Moon surface:

No atmosphere:

  • Heat cannot be dissipated by convection. The temperature due to the components will increase. The battery (lithium) may explode above 80°C.
  • Screen may be difficult to read, because the light will be bright (directly exposed to the Sun).

No radiation protection:

  • Chips are sensitive to radiation and may be disturbed. This is because insulation/conduction state in semi-conductors will be disrupted by the energy from the ionized particles and electromagnetic radiation) Reboot may be required frequently. Chips may also be destructed. Normally chips used in space are hardened to sustain ionizing radiation.

Gravity 1/6th on the Moon:

  • Gravity and acceleration sensors will be inaccurate.

No GPS, no wifi, no network:

  • Location cannot be determined.
  • Communications cannot be established.

Devices used on the Moon will experience the same constraints that on board satellites and space probes.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Its obvious, but you could point out that the microphone and speaker wont work (well), because sound can only be transmitted by touch. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2015 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Would vacuum affect the glue and plastic? $\endgroup$
    – Joe L.
    Mar 7, 2015 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Rikki-Tikki-Tavi. Yep, very good point! Sound propagation requires a medium. But has the user must have a helmet, it would be difficult to get something from the speaker, or the mike. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 7, 2015 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeL. Together with the intense radiation, eventually, yes. $\endgroup$ Mar 7, 2015 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeL. Vacuum will not break plastic (which will only release gases), but high energy particles (e.g. from the Sun) will definitely degrade plastic and glue. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 7, 2015 at 0:42

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