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 ")

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..' - Doc Smith, 1934.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

NASA's Meteorite-Resistant Fabric Perfect For Space Armor
'The men who labored so feverishly there, were clad in heavy space armor...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 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

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

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.