'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 ")

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..' - Robert Forward, 1992.

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...' - Greg Bear, 2015.

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.' - Jack Williamson, 1933.

Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...' - Doc Smith, 1934.

 

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

Wound Healing With Wearable Nanogenerators
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to ... erase the other internal-external damage.'

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

Negative Matter Fluid Theorized In New Paper
'Of course, being negative matter, when you push it, it comes toward you..'

Grow Structures Upon Planetfall - Myco-Architecture
'They'll also start pulling in gases and liquids from the local atmosphere...'

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...'

EXPLORER, The First Total-Body Scanner
'The object is built up of an infinite series of plane layers, at the focus of the ray...'

UK Police AI To Stop Criminals Before They Strike
'... the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'

Sonitus Audio Interface Positioned Beyond The Noise
'... an instrument having relatively small bit pieces adapted to be gripped between the teeth.'

Volvo's Self-Driving Mining Trucks
'A procession of automatic ore carts was racing over the bleak slag'

Audi Pop.Up Autonomous Electric Flying Car
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble of light metals and plastics...'

Music Not Impossible (MNI) Vibrotactile Wearable Experience
Don't you want to experience the 'feely' effects?

Chinese Face Recognition Mistakes Bus Ad For Jaywalker
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

A Look Back At Apollo's Emergency Escape Vehicle
'A simple mechanism... it drove the iron ball through space like a ship.'

InMotion Glide 3 Electric Unicycle For The Last Mile
'...gyro-stabilized on a single wheel.'

China's Social Credit System - A Facebook-1984 Mashup
'Prestige, face, mana, repute, glory: the Sirenese word is strakh.'

Musk Declares Tesla Supercharger Capacity Will Double By Next Year
'Recharge the batteries... in almost every town and village...'

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.