Asteroid Cleaner Robot To Sweep Up Dust Around The Solar System

Sometimes, space explorers really need to get down to the nitty gritty. As in, analyzing the dusty layers of low-gravity moons or asteroids. The ESA is ready with robots that collect and analyse the surface dust on far-away worlds. As you might imagine, it's tricky - in low gravity a simple drill or scoop would just push the lander away from the surface.


(Asteroid cleaner)

This prototype model uses three rotating brushes that also circle in the horizontal plane to scoop dust into a container for analysis. It is designed to collect at least 100 g within 20 seconds.

Designed and built by Added Value Solutions of Spain, the machine automatically detects the distance between the brushes and the surface to adapt as necessary, collect the dust, and direct it into a hermetically sealed box for storage and analysis.

Everything looks promising on Earth, but will it work without gravity? To check it in action, the prototype will fly on ESA’s 64th parabolic aircraft campaign later this month, providing more than 90 bursts of microgravity lasting 20 seconds at a time.

Over the course of three days it will scoop up particles ranging from a few 0.001 mm up to pebbles of 3 cm. The samples can be analysed at the end of each day, and a camera will record progress so that the operators can adjust settings between the bouts of weightlessness.

I confess, of my own free will, that I've never encountered the idea of a asteroid dust-collecting robot in any of the science fiction I've read (if you know of one, ping me @technovelgy).

However, I thought this item was so appealing that I couldn't resist it. And here's a pretty similar idea.

Some readers may be thinking of Project Scoop, from Michael Crichton's 1969 novel The Andromeda Strain.

In theory, JPL was designing a satellite to enter the fringes of space and collect organisms and dust for study. This was considered a project of pure science...

In fact, the true aims were quite different. The true aims of Scoop were to find new life forms that might benefit the Fort Detrick program. In essence, it was a study to discover new biological weapons of war.

In the novel, Project Scoop merely orbited the earth, and did not visit other worlds.

Via ESA.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/8/2016)

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 - (" Space Tech ")

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.' - John W. Campbell, 1930.

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.' - George O. Smith, 1942.

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...' - Jack Williamson, 1933.

Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
'That gives it complete isolation.' - David H. Keller, 1932.

 

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

PassivDom 3D Printed House - What If You Could Live Anywhere?
'The houses are prefabricated units...'

Breakthrough In Manufacture Of Red Blood Cells
This blood's for you!

Caihong Solar-Powered Drone 'Atmospheric Satellite'
'... placed in the wings of a plane to generate power from the light falling on that surface.'

NASA Wants Low Earth Orbit Wifi
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

Is Genetic Testing At Businesses A Bad Idea?
It's not a topic that fares well in science fiction movies-

Wearable Smart Jacket
He pressed the button in his sleeve communicator and snapped: 'Action stations!'

Store One Bit On One Atom
'...each individual molecule has a meaning.'

Fluorescent Bacteria Fashion
'The racks of gowns itched and quivered, their colors running into blurred pools.'

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

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.