Pocket Sized Sattelites for Asteroid Detection

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We’ve seen kicksats before, small pocketable single board satellites designed to orbit Earth. At this year’s Maker Faire, the team behind these kicksats has a new plan: using them to determine the orbits of earth-passing asteroids and hopefully not giving us any forewarning of our imminent extinction.

Instead of simply orbiting Earth, the new plan for these kicksats is to deploy them into the path of an oncoming asteroid such as Apophis so the radio transmissions from each satellite can pinpoint where exactly the asteroid is, something Earthbound optical and radio telescopes struggle with.

Despite the small size, the hardware on each kicksat is pretty impressive; each mini satellite has a solar cell on each side, a low-power MSP430 microcontroller with a radio module, and a few sensors. The system is designed so anyone can pick up the telemetry from these satellites with a small Yagi antenna and an RTL SDR TV tuner dongle.

An impressive bit of kit, but if holding a satellite or asteroid in your hand is more your thing, the same team behind the kicksat put up a whole bunch of 3D models of asteroids and space probes. They’re actually quite impressive when they’re printed out.

World Maker Faire: The New Ultimaker

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Just as the the gates opened at the World Maker Faire in New York City the skies opened, sending everyone underneath the tents and pavilians on the faire grounds. Luckily, I was able to check out the new Ultimaker before that happened, and only a day after it was officially announced.

Compared to the older laser-cut Ultimaker, the Ultimaker 2 is much, much cleaner that’s made more for designers and architects instead of students, hackerspaces and tinkerers. There are a few new additions to the Ultimaker 2 – OLED display, heated bed, and a larger build volume. Basically, if you want Ultimaker quality without a lot of futzing around, go with the Ultimaker 2.

Ultimaker will be shipping a pre-assembled version for €1.895,00, with a kit version to follow shortly. As always, the Ultimaker 2 is open source, and no, this doesn’t mean an end to the classic Ultimaker.

Hackaday is going to the NYC Maker Faire!

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In just a few short days, the greatest hackers and makers from all around the globe will descend on the Hall of Science in New York City to show off their wares. Our new guy [Adam] and myself will also be there, giving these makers our unending support, putting up a few posts about what they built, and giving out some Hackaday swag.

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