Thursday, June 03, 2010

Rise of Lunar Self-Replicating Robots

Japan is planning a $2.2 billion robot colonising mission to the moon. Giant robots will be delivered to the lunar surface, where they will set about building an unmanned lunar base.

As forward thinking as the Japanese robot mission to Luna may seem, it would be more sustainable if the robots were capable of self-replicating. The hobby replicator enterprise is rapidly evolving and expanding, with some desktop replicators able to build as many as half of all their replacement parts.

It is not so important that each machine be able to replicate itself. Instead, think of colonies of complementary machines, capable of making some of their own replacement parts along with replacement parts for other types of machines. Maintenance and controller machines would be given top time and resource priority, under the discipline of a type of "machine economics."

Speaking of space travel, private space launch company SpaceX plans its debut launch for its Falcon 9 rocket tomorrow, June 4.
The one major hurdle left before the fledgling rocket can attempt to launch is final approval of its flight termination system (FTS), an explosive charge that would destroy the rocket if it flew off course. Both SpaceX and the U.S. air force, which monitors the launch area, must be confident that the system works before Falcon 9 can lift off.

"We are now looking good for final approval of the FTS by this Friday, June 4th, just in time for our first launch attempt," SpaceX officials said in a Tuesday statement.

This test version of Falcon 9 will carry a mockup of SpaceX's Dragon capsule, which is designed to carry cargo, and eventually humans, to the International Space Station. This graphic shows how SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon stack up to other rockets. _Space
Best wishes for a successful launch!

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