Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Crustaceans Help Build NASA's Exploration Skills

Crayfish are good explorers, according to Professor David Macmillan of the University of Melbourne, Australia. They use their antennae to orient themselves. They use chemosensory receptors placed all over their bodies to detect chemicals in the water that indicate food, mates and predators.

That's why they are helping NASA with space exploration.


(From Crayfish Navigate bubblewrap for science)

According to Macmillan, crayfish can perform sophisticated analyses on a space before they even enter it; he has worked with NASA scientists developing robots to give them pointers on how crayfish use their tails. They (crayfish) can easily distinguish between different surfaces, like bubblewrap versus sandpaper. Their great sense of touch sets yet another example for NASA biomimetic explorer robots, which have already benefited from Macmillan's previous studies of crayfish tails.

"Invertebrates such as insects and crustaceans achieve similar movement and sensory outcomes to humans. For example, finding food and selection of appropriate mates and nesting sites. Where humans use millions of neurons to achieve such outcomes, invertebrates do it with thousands. Where humans use hundreds, invertebrates may use as few as six," he says.

"It is this parsimony, that ability to control complex behaviours with an amazingly small amount of brain power that attracts scientists from disciplines including robotics engineering, computer programming, biology, mathematics and neurology."
(From Univ. Melbourne)

It turns out the science fiction writer Charles Stross thought that crustaceans could help human beings figure things out and explore. In his novel Accelerando, he writes about it:

"Are you the same KGB AI that phoned me yesterday?"
"Da. However, you misconceptionalized me...
"You're the .. Moscow Windows NT User Group? Okhni NT?"
"Da. Am needing help in defecting."
"Why do you want to defect... ideological or strictly economic?"
"Neither - is biological. Am wanting to go away from humans, away from light cone of impending singularity. Take us to the ocean..."
"Let me get this straight. You're uploads - nervous system state vectors - from spiny lobsters? The Moravec operation: take a neuron, map its synapses, replace with microelectrodes that deliver identical outpus from a simulation of the nerve. Repeat for entire brain, until you've got a working map of it in your simulator. That right?"
(Read more about lobster AIs)

Story from here, more from earlier story there. Thanks to alert reader RandomAction for the tip and book on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/29/2006)

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 ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Space Tech ")

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.' - Pournelle and Niven, 1981.

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...' - Murray Leinster, 1931.

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.' - Jack Williamson, 1939.

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-MíLou in and out of the atmosphere...' - Robert Heinlein, 1958.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffeeís for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Jetson-Style Clockwork Robot Nail Salon Coming To Target Near You
The Jetsons imagined so much future.

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

Taikonaut Tai Chi Foot Loops
'Jimmy Cardigan and Harlowe, staring through the darkside port, had their feet in the foot-loops...'

Space Billboards Would Ruin Our View Of The Cosmos
'But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Orion's 'Skip-to-M'Lou' Entry
'A lightning pilot possibly could land that tin toy without power and still walk away from it provided he had the skill to play Skip-to-MíLou in and out of the atmosphere...'

MarsCat and MetaCat, Your Robot Cat Companions
'It was you who betrayed me ó you and your robot cat.'

Mars Mission Using Nuclear Thermal Propulsion
'with its atomic engine as noiseless as a dancing sunbeam...'

Physiotherapists Get Help From Robots
'Most of the Members went into cold-rest; the others tended them...'

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.