This project has been designed to enable friends of all religions to spread their beliefs beyond our planet. The target audience is the intelligent life on planets in other solar systems in our galaxy and beyond. This article describes a small autonomous and self-powered satellite (53 x 30 x 30mm) which is capable of continuously transmitting the content of the bible (or any other religious text) in morse code using a light emitting diode (LED) and an optional 433MHz radio transmitter. To be successful several assumptions must be made. The area of space in which the device is intercepted must have enough light to power the photocell and charge the battery. Also, the aliens will require some kind of photo receptors to sense visible light and have enough wit to understand that the flashes represent a coded message. Given all that they should have no more difficulty in decoding the text than scientists here had in deciphering the Rosetta Stone. If we are to believe in the omnipotence of God then the text once decoded should be very familiar to the recipients.
The missionary satellite breaks with traditional missionary practice in one important way – it not only preaches, but it also listens. After every fourth line of transmission the satellite sends out a call sign and invites listeners to reply. The system then enters a listening phase for 30 seconds during which its radio receiver can pick up transmissions and record them. Obviously the on board computing facilities are not powerful enough to decode any alien transmissions received, instead it waits until the end of the listening period before replaying them to the sender. This is designed to indicate to any alien life that the probe is more than the equivalent of an interplanetary junk email.
Although intended to be easily attached to any future deep space probe, its light weight make it an ideal addition to a high altitude balloon (HAB) project. It could be used in this type of mission by people whose faith lets them believe in the presence of a deity closer to earth but above the clouds. The objective in this case would be to encourage God to recognise the purpose of the device and to intercept it and make corrections to the text (if required) before it returned to earth. Returned devices with no changes can be taken as an affirmation that every word is true.
Sadly it should be noted that the device is not designed to withstand the high temperatures that would be involved in a mission to seek a balanced view of religion
For people who lack the imagination required to have any faith at all, the device can still be built and deployed with the text of a favourite book instead of a religious tract. This will obviously not spread the word of god, but may introduce a whole new civilisation to the world of Harry Potter and copyright litigation. Initially three probes will be built, each containing either the Bible, the Koran or The Philosopher’s Stone.
It will be interesting to be able to travel through the universe in 2000 years following the path of these probes and to visit the planets affected by their messages. On how many will we find mosques and sharia law, or cathedrals and a Vatican City? My guess is that worship on these planets will be held in replicas of Hogwarts and involve wand waving and the wearing of blazers.
You will need:
- Serpente R2 microcontroller board by arturo182
- Adafruit MicroLipo 3.7v battery charger board
- 3.7Wh Lithium rechargeable battery
- 53x30mm 5volt / 100ma solar cells (Nuzumas N050498) x 4
- 433MHz micro transmitter (optional)
# The Missionary Satellite Project # # New testament version # # Public domain software 2020 # # import board import digitalio import busio import time satellite_name = "MISHSAT-1" WordOfGod = "./NewTestament.txt" words_per_minute = 18 dot_length = (1200 / words_per_minute)/1000 interoperational_gap = 2 on = True off = False TX_on = on RX_on = off # Transmitter io tx_positive = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D0) tx_positive.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT tx_ground = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D1) tx_ground.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT tx_ground.value = False tx_positive.value = TX_on # Receiver io rx_positive = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D3) rx_positive.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT rx_ground = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D2) rx_ground.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT rx_ground.value = False rx_positive.value = RX_on listen_period = 20 uart = busio.UART(board.TX, board.RX,baudrate = 100, bits = 8, parity=None, stop=1, timeout=20, receiver_buffer_size=64) led_r = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED_R) led_r.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT led_g = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED_G) led_g.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT led_b = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED_B) led_b.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT red = [False, True, True] green = [True, False, True] blue = [True, True, False] yellow = [False, False, True] morse = ["-.-.--", ".-..-.", "", "", "", ".-...", ".----.", "-.--.", "-.--.-", "", ".-.-.", "--..--", ".-.-.-", "-..-.", "-----", ".----", "..---", "...--", "....-", ".....", "-....", "--...", "---..", "----.", "---...", "", "", "-...-", "", "..--..", ".--.-.", ".-", "-...", "-.-.", "-..", ".", "..-.", "--.", "....", "..", ".---", "-.-", ".-..", "--", "-.", "---", ".--.", "--.-", ".-.", "...", "-", "..-", "...-", ".--", "-..-", "-.--", "--..", "", "", "", ""] def listen(wait_response): led_on(green) rx_positive.value = on tx_positive.value = off print("Listening " + str(wait_response) + " secs ...") time.sleep(wait_response) rx_positive.value = off tx_positive.value = on led_off() time.sleep(interoperational_gap) return() def prepare_code(line, colour): count = 0 tx_positive.value = on for letter in line.upper(): count = count + 1 if letter == " ": time.sleep(dot_length*7) else: character = ord(letter)-34 if character in range(1, 54): send_morse(character, colour) time.sleep(dot_length*3) tx_positive.value = off return() def send_verse(line): led_on(yellow) data = bytearray(line) tx_positive.value = on uart.write(data) led_off tx_positive.value = off time.sleep(interoperational_gap) return() def led_on(colour): led_r.value = colour led_g.value = colour led_b.value = colour return() def led_off(): led_r.value = True led_g.value = True led_b.value = True return() def send_morse(character, colour): for keypress in morse[character]: tx_positive.value = on led_on(colour) if keypress == ".": time.sleep(dot_length) else: time.sleep(dot_length*3) led_off() tx_positive.value = off time.sleep(dot_length) while True: fp = open(WordOfGod, 'r') line = satellite_name line_count = 0 while line: send_verse(line) if line_count % 4 == 0: line = "CQ CQ CQ de " + satellite_name + " K K K" colour = blue wait_response = listen_period else: line = fp.readline() colour = red wait_response = 0 print(line) prepare_code(line, colour) listen(wait_response) line_count = line_count + 1 fp.close()
Putting the satellite together requires some soldering skills (see my friend Finn’s website for an excellent primer on the subject). The illustration below gives you a clue to how to do it. Note that the optional transmitter has been soldered directly to the main controller board.
The radio transmitter can be enabled or disabled in the control software. Continuous transmission in land based trials is not encouraged as it will attract the attentions of the regulatory authorities in your area. There is also a risk that car alarms, garage doors and vital medical equipment may be impacted. Wait until just before launch before setting ‘TX = True’ in the main code file. Three digital output pins on the controller board are used to power the transmitter and provide the morse keying. This allows the transmitter to be completely powered down when not required.
To ensure that the satellite aligns with the magnetic field of any planet that it encounters, a small bar magnet is glued to the chassis. This will eventually suppress any spinning effect caused when it is released from the parent space craft.
The chassis for the satellite was designed and 3D printed using TinkerCAD and a Fashforge Finder printer. The outer shell supports the solar cells this fits over an inner chassis into which the component boards and battery are fitted. The two parts are held together by strong magnets which also form part of the stabilisation system.
The lithium ion battery is contained in the central gap between the circuit boards and held in place using super glue.