Picture Perfect?

Work to take the perfect progress pictures in space is well underway! Niko and I have spent the last week working to perfect the code using our PJRC Teensy 4.0 to capture photos of our samples throughout the duration of the experiment on the ISS. Using Adafruit's open source code, you can follow along too! Here is the link to the tutorial we were able to use:

Adafruit is a great site to look through if you are interested in learning how to program, but don't know where to start! The other part of the programming work has been wrapped up and neatly packaged in this circuit diagram:

Each encircled "S" stands for a servo motor, three of them will be linear actuators and the fourth will be a fluid pump. Since they all connect to the circuit in the same way, it is simplified in the circuit diagram to show the wire connections in a more concise manner.

The circular objects with the 3 wired connections are called "Transistors," and they function sort of like light switches to allow the microcontroller to divert power to one of the motors at a time, or even turn them all on at once! They are really useful for this experiment because we are trying to draw the smallest amount of power possible to ensure that the system runs smoothly and doesn't cause any problems once it is plugged in to the ISS.

Next steps for programming will be to put the two different circuits on the same microcontroller and begin lots of testing to ensure that our program won't fail due to the vibrational intensity of launch. We are excited to see the controller in our electronics space to verify all of the dimensions we have planned out for the newly designed Bacterial Introduction Device (or BID for short)!

If you have any questions about programming, or what our Vandal Voyagers I team is up to, feel free to leave a question in the comments!

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The results from our citizen science experiment were accepted for publication! Find our paper describing this effort and its results here: