MADMEN Robot Swarm To Handle Incoming Asteroids?

SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. has completed a preliminary study for NASA in planetary defense against asteroid impactors - Modular Asteroid Deflection Mission Ejector Node (MADMEN) robots. MADMEN are autonomous swarming mass-drivers that attach themselves to the side of an asteroid, drilling mass out of the asteroid, and then accelerating it so as to give the asteroid a little push out of its path to Earth. Little pushes add up, and if you use more MADMEN, the process works faster.

(From SpaceWorks Engineering)

Since asteroids tend to rotate on their axes, a swarm of robots can be used. The MADMEN would land on different faces, and time their pushes to act in the right direction as the asteroid spins. The mass-driver extends directly away from the surface; as a piece of drilled-out asteroid is pushed away into space, it pushes against the asteroid. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

(From A League of Extraordinary Machines)

(From A League of Extraordinary Machines)

Each MADMEN robot is independently controlled and nuclear powered. The proposal is to stockpile a set of them in Low Earth Orbit so they can be called upon to intercept an incoming target.

SF fans may recall Misfit, an early (1939) Robert Heinlein short story about moving asteroids. The method used is not clear; it appears to involve explosions that slowly push an asteroid into a useful path (to be used for a space station). Or perhaps you already read about it in another story earlier this week - Proposal To Move An Asteroid.

You can read their (very well-done) program overview at The League of Extraordinary Machines: A Rapid and Scalable Approach to Planetary Defense Against Asteroid Impactors. Additional pictures can be found at the SpaceWorks gallery. Thanks to Asteroid Eaters: Robots to Hunt Space Rocks for the story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/20/2004)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | | 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 ")

ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?' Jules Verne, 1867.

Confirm 100 Exoplanets At Once! (With Video)
'My automatic astronomical instruments searching for a habitable planet.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1936.

Blue Origin Tests 'Escape Pod' Capability
'I'm going to regret this...' - George Lucas, 1976.

Space Elevator Planned By Obayashi Corp
'And so to establish an elevator system linking Earth to space?' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1976.



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

GyroGlove Idea For Parkinson's Was Suggested In 1926
'The gyroscope was revolving at the rate of three thousand revolutions a minute, and the slight humming was hardly noticeable...'

Otto Self-Driving Truck Kit Delivers Budweiser Beer
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'

Airnest Drone Flight Logging Tool
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'

Untethered Drone Gets Wireless Power
'We'll use my 'broomstick'.'

ESA Plans Akon Projectile To Europa ala Jules Verne
'... might [it] not be possible to project a shot up to the moon?'

Transparent OLED TV By Panasonic
It's the look of things to come.

Shape-Memory Metal Transforms Millions Of Times
'Annealed in any shape for a time, and codified, the structure of that shape is retained down to the molecules.'

Advertising Drones Hover Over Traffic In Mexico
'Blurbflies are allowd to travel the streets, buzzing their adverts alive and direct...'

How Can Amazon Patent A Voice-Controlled Drone?
''Tight mid-shot...' he told it.'

'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'

proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'

Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'

Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'

FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.

BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'

MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise | - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.