Satellites are used for almost all modern achievements, from communication or navigation systems to environmental monitoring and military purposes. By now there are approximately 3000 satellites in orbit, about 1000 of those are still operating. The majority of these objects revolve our planet in 200km to 2000km height, with an orbital period of 90 to 130 minutes.
Despite their overall application, we hardly notice their existence. From earth they are visible only in the rare case, that they are in the perfect angle to reflect the sun. All necessary data about the positions and paths of satellites is known though, as it is crucial for determining free spots for new satellites. Accessing this information allows the drawing machine SATELLITEN to keep record of the sheer amount of satellite flyovers in regard to its own location. In a square of approximately 10cm², the machine traces their lines in real time until the far away object leaves our horizon again.
SATELLITEN uses its own position as starting point and old maps of the area as a base for its drawings. For a long time, maps and atlases used to be one of the only sources for geographical knowledge. Now the paths of the satellites start to form on top of the familiar neighbourhoods, thus setting the normally invisible traffic in relation to our usual habitat. But as time passes the lines of the satellites will obliterate the well-known streets and cities, overwriting not only the information the map originally contained but as well the marks left by the preceding satellites. In the long run only a black square will be left, it is the remains of this rather parasitic machine: a temporal window, showing the seemingly arbitrary but highly structured activities in lower earth orbit.
Material: maps / atlas, pen, stepper motors, motor drivers, electronics, sensors, aluminium, Arduino microcontroller, Raspberry Pi
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
8-6-2021 (August 6, 2021) is the Snakiest day of the year and it’s also this year’s CircuitPython Day! The day highlights all things CircuitPython and Python on Hardware. See you there!
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.