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 | 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 ")

HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin
'Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin...'- George Lucas, 1980.

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'- Fred Hoyle, 1957.

Stellar Navigation Based On Network Analysis
'We are a traveling people. We need a travel station here.'- Clifford Simak, 1963.

Students! NASA Wants To 3D Print Your Tool Design In Space!
'Mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1979

 

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

BMW's Remote Valet Parking Assistant
'Mary... claimed her car from the robopark...'

HAVOC Over Venus ala Bespin
'Cloud City is an installation on the planet Bespin...'

Neuroscientist Works Toward Virtual Immortality ala Clarke
'Nothing will be left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

A Basic Income TED Talk
'They de-emphasized what lack of work would do to Mr. Everyman'

Smart Window Tints, Powers Itself
'The polawindow, which he tuned to clear transmission.'

What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?
'The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes...'

Should SETI Talk To Molecular Cloud Barnard 68?
'I myself am building basic chemicals at about 10,000,000,000 times the rate at which building is occurring on the whole ... surface of your planet.'

EXACTO Bullets Change Course In Mid-Air
'This little weapon ejects a rather ingenious missile...'

LikeAGlove Smart Garment Knows Your Size
'The tailor set moving a mechanism...'

Button-Pushing Robots Have Taken Our Jobs, Thankfully
'The ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'

Puls 'Smart Watch' Replaces Your Cell Phone
Even before Dick Tracy, there were Ideas about this.

Small Molecule Walker Takes First Steps
'The bits were in motion.'

US Navy Laser Ready For Use
Fifty years from cartoon to reality.

Fast Lightweight Autonomy Indoor Drones For DARPA
'the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom... and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'

Ninebot One Self-Balancing Wheel
'It had been a long time since the Chief Engineer had ridden one of these silly-looking little vehicles...'

FuturICT Knowledge Accelerator And Psychohistory
'The reactions of human conglomerates to fixed social and economic stimuli...'

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.