Instead of spending time and money planning a manned mission to Mars, why not send an army of robots into space to do all the work? A fleet of robots could be deployed to explore far-away planets, according to researchers at Caltech’s Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory.
From the Telegraph:
Robotic airships and satellites will fly above the surface of the distant world, commanding squadrons of wheeled rovers and floating robot boats…The systems will transform planetary exploration, says [Wolfgang] Fink, who envisages the cybernetic adventurers mapping the land and seascapes of Saturn’s moon, Titan—believed to have lakes of standing liquid—as well as closer planetary neighbors like Mars.
Researchers say the robots could command themselves and other robots with little input from ground control. All of which seems like a great idea, since the human space flight program isn’t likely to take off anytime soon.
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· The world’s space agencies might not speak the same language, but one small box could connect them all.
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·Show us the money: Music label threatens to stop licensing songs to Rock Band and Guitar Hero unless they get more cash.
·Global warming comes to your living room—you can buy a stranded polar bear on a rug.
Can you power an entire dance club with dancing? The British are about to try.
The Boston Globe unveils the science of the perfect nap. Even thinking about taking an afternoon siesta seems to improve your mood.
Dear Presidential candidates: Why no love for economists?
“If I could rerun the tape of life from the origin of unicellular organisms… would terrestrial life originate at all? Would we get mobile creatures that we could call animals?”
–Stephen Jay Gould, “Fungal Forgery” in Natural History, 1993
“Are there universal laws of life, much like the fundamental laws of physics, which govern or limit the characteristics that make it–in any form–possible?”
–Blurb for “Looking for the Laws of Life” panel discussion at the World Science Festival
When NASA’s Phoenix Lander touches down on Mars this weekend—presuming it survives the hot and harrowing descent to the surface—scientists hope that it finds more evidence of water. A new study in Science uses an Idaho gorge to suggest that the surface of Mars may have once been covered in huge quantities of water, though that may not be as good a portent for finding life on the Red Planet as it might sound.
While the Colorado River gradually carved the Grand Canyon over the last five or six millions years, there’s more than one way to scoop out a chasm. Short but massive deluges of water can do it, too. That’s how Michael Lamb and his team at the University of California, Berkeley think that Box Canyon in eastern Idaho was created.