'Smart Dust' Spacecraft Swarm Saves Earth?

Smart dust spacecraft have been designed at Cornell University to save us all. The intent of engineers Mason Peck and Justin Atchison is to deploy a swarm of their tiny craft between the Earth and the sun. If a solar flare strikes, the additional warning will give us time to duck and cover.

The tiny "smart dust" craft are little more than solar panels with radio antennas, but what sort of amenities did you expect on a spacecraft just one centimeter square, 25 micrometers thick and weighing just 7.5 milligrams?

By letting a swarm of these tiny chips go along for the ride on the next ship heading toward one of the Lagrange points, they could deploy and serve as an early warning system. Lagrange points, also called libration points, are the five positions in an orbital system with two objects where the gravitational pull of the two objects cancels each other out.

Men in Black fans of course remember the tiny spaceship belonging to Serleena, the serpentine Kylothian queen. Readers may recall other tales of tiny craft?


(MIB 2 alien spacecraft)

Update: Thanks to reader VuDuDaDi for reminding me. Don't forget the combined Vl'hurg and G'Gugvuntt invasion fleet swallowed by a dog in The Hitchhikers Guide:

"For thousands more years the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across which happened to be the Earth where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog."

End update. From New Scientist.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/4/2010)

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 ( 3 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...' - Ray Cummings, 1930.

UM Hall Thruster Breaks Records
Someday, we'll see an ion drive used to get to Mars.

Ancient Ocean On Ceres?
'We sailed gently forward, hull down to the asteroid's surface... A little sea was now beneath us.'

Lunatix Lunar Rover Will Accept YOUR Commands!
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... ' - Niven and Pournelle, 1981.

 

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

China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'

iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.

Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'

Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.

RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.

Seasteading Floating Cities
'It was a remarkable island, circular, about half a kilometer in diameter.'

Tesla Semi 'Electrotruck' Unveiled
Elon Musk unveils yet another technological marvel.

Watch What People Are Seeing Via Brain Scanning
'had managed to see through the other man's eyes as the other man, all unaware, washed their Zis limousine sixteen hundred meters away...'

Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve.

Interstellar Asteroid Visits Our Solar System
'This asteroid had whirled in from the cold of the interplanetary space...'

PRIMA Bionic Vision Restoration
'The VISOR... was a medical device used in the Federation to aid patients who have suffered loss of eyesight...'

Audi Traffic Jam Pilot Knows If You're Sleeping
'Even here, riding a garbage truck to eternity, the machine watched him...'

UM Hall Thruster Breaks Records
Someday, we'll see an ion drive used to get to Mars.

Ionity Ultra-fast Charging Station Network
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

VAuth Voice Security Wearable From University of Michigan
'Siri, I gave you a voice command...' 'Yes, but do I know you?'

Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.

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.