What costs more? SMS or Hubble Data Transmission?

Dr Nigel Bannister (University of Leicester) worked out cost of obtaining 1 megabyte of data from Hubble – and compared that with the 5p cost of sending a text SMS.

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.”

There you go!

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