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"Looking back through history, I see no evidence for humanity making the best of things, and I think it's a pretty safe bet that's an on-going trend."
- Richard Morgan

Spider  
  A robotic device that both extruded cable and climbed along it; a space construction robot.  

The Spider is a robot designed for speed in bridge-building; it extrudes the cables and works faster than any other component. They were well adapted for a free space environment.

The two great ovoid bodies were hanging near the surface of the asteroid, about a hundred meters apart. The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards, balanced delicately a few centimeters clear of the surface. Between them, probing deep into the interior of the asteroid, was set the long proboscis. As Rob watched, the great, faceted eyes turned towards him. The Spiders were aware of his presence. Somewhere deep in their organic components lurked a hint of consciousness.

Corrie had been fascinated by them from the first moment she saw one. "Why eight legs?" she had asked.

Rob had shrugged. "It extrudes material like a spider. How many legs wouldi you have given it?

From The Web Between the Worlds, by Charles Sheffield.
Published by Not Known in 1979
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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Web Between the Worlds
  More Ideas and Technology by Charles Sheffield
  Tech news articles related to The Web Between the Worlds
  Tech news articles related to works by Charles Sheffield

Spider-related news articles:
  - Spidernaut, Orbital Construction Robot
  - Robotic Space Spiders To Crawl Sub-Orbital Web
  - Robot Fabricates Endless Tools For Itself (Updated)
  - Robonaut To Get Eight-Legged Spidernaut Configuration?
  - SpiderFab Spider Robots To Weave Space Structures
  - Archinaut 3D Printing Autonomous Space Manufacturing System
  - Siemens 3D Printing Robot Spiders

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Cool 'Single-Person Spaceships' Have Better SF Name
Skating On Mars' Frozen Pools
Bigelow To Offer Inflatable Lunar Bases

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