Our favorite Soviet-Era display that found its way into a present-day kit now displays time from orbiting satellites. A GPS module patched into an Ice Tube Clock with modified firmware will be able to provide a satellite-synced time. The firmware, modified by yours truly, parses the GPS module’s NMEA RMC sentences for the time and date information and then updates the clock’s time and date. Fun was had making sure the alarm went off at the correct times when the time was updated by the GPS. Overall, it was a fun project and we look forward to seeing additional Ice Tube Clock hacks.
Producing ice without electricity just got a lot easier thanks to these engineering students from San Jose State University. Their system uses solar heat to facilitate evaporation of a coolant. When the sun goes down and the coolant turns back to liquid, its temperature drops drastically due to extreme pressure differences. The unit can produce 14 pounds of ice per day with zero carbon footprint. It has no moving parts and an entirely sealed system, this should mean that the only maintenance necessary would be keeping the unit clean.
It’s official: the Phoenix Lander has discovered ice on Mars. A few days ago, the lander exposed some bright white chunks of material while retrieving a soil sample. These spots have since disappeared over the following days, suggesting they’ve melted. An additional trench found a hard layer at the same depth as the original ice.
The spacecraft team has been dealing with some data storage issues as well and will be pushing a software patch soon.