Inside an unmanned craft, now headed towards the International Space Station, sit several smallish, cube-shaped satellites. One of them will soon be writing Morse code messages across the sky.
While most of the cargo on the spacecraft is supplies for the space station, one of these little satellites, known as “cubesats”, serves another purpose entirely. Using a neodymium magnet to keep it facing towards Earth and an array of LED lights, the 1.4kg FITSAT-1 cubesat is going to blast a series of 200W dots and dashes at the Earth from orbit.
The purpose of the whole project is to conduct some high-speed and optical communication experiments while FITSAT-1 conducts its three-minute fly-by. FITSAT-1 is going to be under careful watch by telescopes, but according to the project’s leader Takushi Tanaka, the light codes should be visible to the naked eye or those with binoculars
FITSAT-1 is due to be deployed from the ISS on September 6 and will be speeding right along, so it might prove difficult to catch a glimpse of it. If nothing else, the telescopes watching it for experiments are sure to get some good footage of the event. It looks like Morse code has come a long way since the telegraph. [Space via DVICE]