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 ")

Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
'That gives it complete isolation.' - David H. Keller, 1932.

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.' - Hal Clement, 1956.

Axiom - The World's First Private Space Station?
'So Webb Foster had built his space laboratory... It was a great crystal sphere, a thousand feet in diameter.' - Nat Schachner, 1937.

Moon's Huge Lava Tubes Perfect For Heinlein's Bat Wings
'It's just a big volcanic bubble, two miles across...' - Robert Heinlein, 1957.

 

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

3D Skin Printer Helps Burn Victims
'Over her lacerated right shoulder he sprayed art-derm...'

Tesla Autopilot's 40 Percent Crash Reduction
''I hope all those other cars are on automatic,' he said anxiously.'

Pent-Up NASA Scientists Simulate Life On Mars
'That gives it complete isolation.'

China Now Has Robot Journalists
'A vast complex electronic organism buried deep in the ground, responsible to no one...'

Relationship-Practicing Robot From Turing Robot
'Streamlined, smooth-working, absolutely noiseless, breath-takingly realistic.'

Cormorant Flying Car
'The cab came floating down out of the sky...'

ElliQ Robot To Help Israel's Grandmas And Grandpas
'The robant and the tiny old woman entered the control room slowly...'

EU Debates Kill Switches For Robots
'I have a mechanism which our autofac on Mars builds as an... emergency safety...'

Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Sales Robots More Persistent Than Humans
'Robot-salesmen were everywhere, gesturing,,, shrilling...'

AI Identifies Suicidal Behavior With 93 Percent Accuracy
'...He padded into the living room, and seated himself by the suitcase; he opened it, clicked switches, and turned on Dr. Smile.'

Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...'

Can Virtual Reality help People Cope With Pain?
Research is promising.

Dust Movement On The Moon, Saturn's Rings Solved
'...The dust normally on the surface picks up and keeps a charge.'

Largest Micro-Drone Swarm Release Successful
'... Programmed to hang in space in a hexagonal grid pattern.'

Robot Motion Planning 10K Times Faster
'The robot crab... fired a burst of light, then froze...'

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.