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"One can see the free software movement as a precusor for a "free hardware" or "free wetware" movement--one that will provide free libraries of designs for biological or nanotechnological products that replicators can be programmed to churn out."
- Charles Stross

Asteroid Mining Robot  
  An autonomous robot able to effectively mine asteroids.  

The DV-5 mining robot is of an unusual variety; it is a multiple robot. It has six robots working for it.

It is also able to work autonomously: "... these robots are equipped for asteroid mining without supervision."

It was not overmassive by any means, in spite of its construction as thinking-unit of an integrated seven-member robot team. It was seven feet tall, and a half-ton of metal and electricity. A lot? Not when that half-ton has to be a mass of condensers, circuits, relays, and vacuum cells that can handle practically any psychological reaction known to humans...

"Dave," [Powell] said. "You're a stable, rock-bottom mining robot, except that you're equiped to handle six subsidiaries in direct coordination..."

From Catch That Rabbit, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Astounding Science-Fiction in 1944
Additional resources -

The company that produced these robots was rather uncompromising; their unwritten motto was "No employee makes the same mistake twice. He is fired the first time."

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Catch That Rabbit
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Catch That Rabbit
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

Asteroid Mining Robot-related news articles:
  - Robots In The Mines

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