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At MakerFaire NYC

Hi all,I'll be at the NYC MakerFaire this weekend (Sept 21-22), in case anyone wishes to join up...

Concepts For A CubeSat LARP

I am a firm believer that simulations improve reality.  If you want to launch a CubeSat, you...

Putting a TARDIS in Space?

I am used to odd looks when I say I'm flying a satellite to convert the ionosphere to music. ...

Who Can Launch a CubeSat?

In the half year since I wrote last September, the CubeSat field has greatly moved forward. ...

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Project CalliopeRSS Feed of this column.

Alex "Sandy" Antunes is the mastermind behind 'Project Calliope', a pico-satellite funded by Science 2.0 and being launched in 2011 by a mad scientist who is a space & music enthusiast. This... Read More »

While I'm busy building an instrument to convert the ionosphere to music, this NASA group has sonified the Sun

Astronomers at Univ. of Sheffield "found that huge magnetic loops that have been observed coiling away from the outer layer of the sun's atmosphere, known as coronal loops, vibrate like strings on a musical instrument. [...] Using satellite images of these loops, which can be over 60,000 miles long, the scientists were able to recreate the sound by turning the visible vibrations into noises and speeding up the frequency so it is audible to the human ear. "

"It is a sort of music as it has harmonics."

Sample this 18 second flare music:

Autonomous Satellites

How smart does a satellite have to be to function? I'm working on the design of the Project Calliope satellite, and near as I can tell, it doesn't need a brain. All it needs is energy, sensors, the ability to yell or shut up, and a small stuffed animal.

Let's back up a bit. My picosatellite kid has a computer core and a Radiometrix transmitter. I unpacked it and then discussed how the pieces went together. But how minimal can I go?
Time for a little space business by a citizen scientist-- an ordinary scienc-y person who just happens to be building a personal satellite in his basement.  I'm at the Space Weather Enterprise Forum today, where scientists and policy makers try to tackle space weather awareness from a real world 'money&lives' stance. On Friday I'll write it up in my main column, but for now I'm going to connect these issues with some 'Project Calliope' concerns.

When launching a personal satellite, who will be at fault if there is trouble with the satellite?
Swing It!

Swing It!

Jun 01 2010 | comment(s)

Just a quickie today, I may be working to turn the ionosphere into the world's biggest musical instrument, but a fellow named Tristan has done a music hack that makes any song swing.

The Swinger is a bit of python code that takes any song and makes it swing.  It does this be taking each beat and time-stretching the first half of each beat while time-shrinking the second half.  It has quite a magical effect.

Great samples on the page-- Sweet Child o' Mine as swing?  I have got to get to Music Hack Day sometime.

Remember, as Prof. Schickle says, "It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that certain je ne sais quoi".

This weekend, someone once again wanted my assurance that Project Calliope would not cause an environmental disaster when it reenters at the end of its mission.

Earlier I'd discussed how it will completely burn up on reentry, leaving nothing that could hit the ground.  However, given people need additional reassurance, I offer this statement.

I guarantee that Project Calliope will not cause a zombie outbreak.

You might think, 'doesn't every satellite promise that-- yet how can he guarantee, with 100% certainty, that his satellite won't infect the Earth with an alien virus that causes zombie outbreaks?'