Satellite to Flash Morse Code: A palm-sized Japanese satellite in orbit around Earth will flash a Morse code message that will be visible around the world from next month, the mission commander said on Friday.
Researchers hope the satellite, measuring 10 centimeters (four inches) cubed and launched from the International Space Station on Friday, will become the first orbiter to transmit an LED message across the night sky.
The message was originally intended to be seen just in Japan, but people around the world have asked for the satellite to communicate when it overflies them, said Takushi Tanaka, professor at The Fukuoka Institute of Technology.
"There is no practical aim to this, but it is a fun experiment that everybody can join," he said.
Observers, ideally with binoculars, will be able to see flashes of light — green in the northern hemisphere, where people will see the "front" of the satellite, and red in the southern hemisphere, where the "back" will be visible.
The message it will send is "Hi this is Niwaka Japan." Niwaka is the satellite's nickname and reflects a play on words in the local dialect of southwestern Japan.