On the morning of November 15, a Russian missile destroyed a satellite in orbit above Earth. The successful test of the anti-satellite weapon has infuriated many in the space industry, put astronauts and cosmonauts alike at risk, and caught the attention of virtually every public and private space organisation on the planet.
It’s yet another chapter in the controversial history of military anti-satellite operations, and one with important implications for future space missions. Let’s examine what happened, and explore the greater context of the operation.
There’s going to be a new Matrix movie in theaters next month, and you know what that means: we’re about to see a whole new generation get obsessed with the franchise’s iconic “Digital Rain” effect. Thanks to modern advertisement technology, expect to see lines of glittering text pouring down the displays of everything from billboards to gas pumps pretty soon.
For those of us who’ve just been looking for an excuse to break out the old Matrix screensavers, you might as well get a jump on things using this handy Arduino library for the ESP8266 and ESP32. Developed by [Eric Nam], it lets you start up a digital rainstorm on displays supported by the TFT_eSPI library as easily as running digitalRainAnim.loop().
You can even install the library through the Arduino IDE, just open the Library Manager and search for “Digital Rain” to get started. You’ve still got to hook the display up to your microcontroller, but come on, [Eric] can’t do it all for you.
Looking at the examples, it seems like various aspects of the animation like color and speed can be configured by initializing the library with different values. Unfortunately we’re not seeing much in the way of documentation for this project, but by comparing the different examples, you should be able to get the high points.
Making a microcontroller perform as a frequency counter is a relatively straightforward task involving the measurement of the time period during which a number of pulses are counted. The maximum frequency is however limited to a fraction of the microcontroller’s clock speed and the accuracy of the resulting instrument depends on that of the clock crystal so it will hardly result in the best of frequency counters. It’s something [FrankBuss] has approached with an Arduino-based counter that offloads the timing question to a host PC, and thus claims atomic accuracy due to its clock being tied to a master source via NTP. The Rust code PC-side provides continuous readings whose accuracy increases the longer it is left counting the source. The example shown reaches 20 parts per billion after several hours reading a 1 MHz source.
It’s clear that this is hardly the most convenient of frequency counters, however we can see that it could find a use for anyone intent on monitoring the long-term stability of a source, and could even be used with some kind of feedback to discipline an RF source against the NTP clock with the use of an appropriate prescaler. Its true calling might come though not in measurement but in calibration of another instrument which can be adjusted to match its reading once it has settled down. There’s surely no cheaper way to satisfy your inner frequency standard nut.