'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 ")

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'- Otto Willi Gail, 1929.

 

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

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.

ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.

When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'

Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'

Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'

Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.

Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'

Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'

CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.

SRI MicroFactory Of Microrobots Recalls Dick's Autofac
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants... constructing something...'

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.