Robotic Observatory Opens On Antarctic Plateau

A robotic observatory - PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) - has been completed on one of Earth's most remote locations - the Antarctic Plateau. With temperatures that drop to minus 130 Fahrenheit, at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the automated facility is an 18-day journey from existing research stations.


(Robotic observatory Dome C, Antarctic plateau)

The expedition was lead by the Polar Research Institute of China; the observatory will begin sending data back by satellite in a few weeks, when darkness returns to Antarctica. The automated observatory is powered by solar panels and by small diesel engines during the lightless winter.

PLATO has a total of seven telescopes; equipment from China, the U.S. and the U.K. was assembled by a team at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

The Antarctic Plateau is considered one of Earth's prime viewing locations. The air is extremely dry; it also features relatively low wind speeds and less atmospheric turbulence. The site should also be ideal for infrared observations.

The location of the site also figures prominently in one of the site's main goals; the continuous observation of an area of the sky over the pole as the Earth rotates.

Let's hope that the team from the Polar Research Institute has a good repair plan for when the robotic observatory needs to be serviced. Dome C in Antarctica is so remote, and the journey there so difficult, it might as well be on another planet. Perhaps they should consider having Robonaut, the dexterous humanoid telepresence robot, onsite for repairs and maintenance.

Science fiction fans know that we're going to need this kind of automated equipment - and people to service them. In his 1959 short story The Repairman, Harry Harrison wrote about automated hyperspace beacons placed at ideal locations on lonely planets.

The first ships to enter hyperspace had no place to go - and no way to tell if they had even moved. The beacons solved that problem and opened up the entire universe. They are built on planets and generate tremendous amounts of power...

For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix. For long jumps, navigators use up to seven or eight. So every beacon is important and every one has to keep operating. That is where I and the other troubleshooters come in.
(Read more about Harry Harrison's hyperspace beacons)

Via Robotic Observatory Built on Remote Antarctic Summit and Astronomers reach the top of the Antarctic Plateau.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/7/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

iPal Nanny Robot Will Raise Your Kids
'Playfully, Nanny caught Bobby's arm with her grapple and drew him to her.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

Robots Don't Need To Be Humanoid
'People are used to android robots... They'll be scared of your unhuman-looking contraptions...' -Anthony Boucher, 1943.

Robot Arrested In Moscow
They should have thrown a net over him.

Oh Great, Fence-Climbing Robots
How long till they add the acid-tipped stingers?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

iPal Nanny Robot Will Raise Your Kids
'Playfully, Nanny caught Bobby's arm with her grapple and drew him to her.'

NVIDIA's DAVE2 Autonomous Car Learns From Drivers
'So we took pictures of Guzub making a Three Planets...'

Robots Don't Need To Be Humanoid
'People are used to android robots... They'll be scared of your unhuman-looking contraptions...'

Tractor Beams? They're Working On It
'Brandon swung mighty tractor beams...'

Hi-Yo Modobag! Away!
'A tumblebug does not give a man dignity...'

Snap Specs - Snapchat Spectacles - Are Video Glasses
'The old woman laid her wire-knitting aside and fixed them with the bug-eyed, opaque gape...'

Reading A Scroll Burned To Charcoal
'The scope was adjusted to generate... an image of the lower section of the book.'

Robot Arrested In Moscow
They should have thrown a net over him.

Oh Great, Fence-Climbing Robots
How long till they add the acid-tipped stingers?

Software Agents Fight Unseen On The Web
'...Worms and counter-worms loose on the data-net.'

Sandisk 1 Terabyte SD Memory Card Surfaces
'They should be Welton Fine-Grains, or they would be too bulky to ship...'

Carbyne, The Ultimate Form Of Carbon
'A continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal...'

Bradbury's Method Used In Search For Bombing Suspect
'He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards, into alleys...'

New Laser Space Debris Clearing More Subtle Than Clarke's
Rather than nudge them up, nudge them down.

Robots Learn To Swarm Safely
'They were bronzy gleams of smooth motion...'

Samsung's Smart Ring
'Crayn glanced at his finger watch...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.