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Exploding Robots May Scout Hazardous Asteroids

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the things-that-asplode dept.

120

An anonymous reader writes to mention NewScientist is reporting that a small force of robots designed to explode could help reveal an asteroid's inner structure. This could in turn allow scientists a better understanding of how to divert a rogue asteroid on a collision course with Earth. From the article: "The main spacecraft would stay a few dozen kilometers away, perhaps nudging the probes towards the asteroid using springs. Once on the surface, the protective spherical shell of each probe would open to allow the probe to scan the surface nearby. To reduce complexity and costs, the probes lack solar panels and run on battery power, limiting their lifetime to a few days. But each probe could still cover a lot of ground in that time, as they could be fitted with small thrusters to let them hop across the surface. Eventually the probes could detonate onboard explosives, sacrificing themselves for science one by one. Probes that had not yet detonated would listen for any seismic waves sent rippling out from the explosion, and the main spacecraft could observe the craters left behind. That would tell scientists about the asteroid's strength and internal structure."

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Smells of... (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712926)

Exploration by destruction. If that is not a Bush Administration approach to space exploration, I don't know what is :-)

Re:Smells of... (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713682)

Funny... I thought Sony found a new market for their exploding laptop batteries.

Re:Smells of... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713986)

"Redundant"? I challenge you to point to a previous post with the same.

Re:Smells of... (1)

SteveO6385 (1054446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714154)

Quiet you fool, you keep it up and the State of the Union will be filled with "If we don't destroy those meteors, then the terrorists have won".

Hell, all we really have to do is scare away these things. Think of it: if we turn our satellites up towards the impending rock of doom, and broadcast our horrible earth waves to it, it'll run in fear. It's not gonna take long until it can't stand being transmitted Windows Updates in it's general direction before it turns and warns the rest of the galaxy to evade our planet.

.....or gang up on us and destroy the source in Redman. :P

No wonder they're hazardous! (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712950)

What with all the exploding robots exploring them, of course they're going to be a bit hazardous.

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713036)

Will this alter the trajectory of them and cause earth to be in harms way?

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (3, Funny)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713426)

"Will this alter the trajectory of them and cause earth to be in harms way?"

I think the bigger worry would be:

I hope to hell OTHER planets aren't coming up with exploding robot probes....and aming them at that 'earth' planet way out there....to see what kind of seismic activity they can detect.

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715646)

With all the exploding we do all by ourselves on this planet I'd be suprised if we noticed.

On the other hand... Tunguska...

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (5, Funny)

eviloverlordx (99809) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713072)

What with all the exploding robots exploring them, of course they're going to be a bit hazardous.

I would hate to be one of the engineers testing these.

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713254)

> > What with all the exploding robots exploring them, of course they're going to be a bit hazardous.
>
> I would hate to be one of the engineers testing these.

"Engineers? What about the poor robots?"
- PETRO: People for the Ethical Treatment of Robot Overlords

PETROL (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713778)

PETRO: People for the Ethical Treatment of Robot Overlords

Personally, I'd have included the "L" in "Overlords" in that acronym.

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (1)

Venerable Vegetable (1003177) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714092)

Brings the saying "defective by design" to a whole new level.

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17716074)

Shouldn't it rather be destructive by design?

Re:No wonder they're hazardous! (1)

Howserx (955320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713320)

WTF! where are all the jokes about them being powered by dell batteries? Maybe I should threshold at less then 3...

Armegeddon (1)

KUHurdler (584689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714328)

Just wait till Bruce Willis hears about these new robots.

Robots (1)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712970)

Why do we need robots when we have Bruce Willis [wikipedia.org] to do the job?

Re:Robots (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17717044)

These robots are going to need a considerable degree of in-built intelligence. So, quite different.

Think of the Asteroids (5, Funny)

Suffering Bastard (194752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17712984)

Oh great, we're about to start pissing off asteroids by blowing up their kin. OF COURSE they're going to come falling on us, if for no other reason than retaliation.

Watch for attacking asteroid clusters, armed to the teeth with lasers and nuclear bombs!

ha ha, just kidding...asteroids don't have teeth.

Re:Think of the Asteroids (1)

OctaviusIII (969957) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714514)

Looks like NASA is getting into the habit of blowing up its enemies, too. It'll be just like Iraq all over again!

Re:Think of the Asteroids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17715112)

Oh great, we're about to start pissing off asteroids by blowing up their kin. OF COURSE they're going to come falling on us, if for no other reason than retaliation.

When fighting asteroids you just make more asteroids. You can not win a war on asteroids.

I for one... (0, Redundant)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713020)

welcome our new asteroid-hopping self-destructive explorer robots. I hope they asplode before they turn against us.

Re:I for one... (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713068)

I for one welcome these expl [NO CARRIER]

Re:I for one welcome our new exploding robots (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713122)

and thank the Gods that my space suit is armored.

They evolved. They rebelled. (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713846)

I hope they asplode before they turn against us.

There are many copies. And they have a plan.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17714094)

Jeeeeez, Bill "Tard" Gates starts his hype machine about robots in an effort to pump up Micro$oft stock and now everyone uses the term robot for everything.

Robots are the new nano!

Bomb #20 says... (4, Funny)

Half a dent (952274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713048)

"Let there be light"

Attention: (1)

Professr3 (670356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713058)

OMG ROLLERMINES

that is all.

Great PR (1)

4solarisinfo (941037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713062)

Actually, I bet this is going to give them some really good PR. Sound science, new territory, and explosions.

The so-called 'news' people may actually run a story like this, getting average people into space again, which has done so much for scientific research as a whole.

Now, what celebrity could we also send there.... and blow up?

Deep Impact was on TV last week (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713084)

In Deep Impact [wikipedia.org] NASA sent a manned mission to nuke a killer comet.

Sounds like a perfect job for robots.

Re:Deep Impact was on TV last week (1)

ray-auch (454705) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715402)

I think you missed the bit about it being a film.

Robots are distinctly non-perfect for that. Consider the diaglogue:

90mins of "beep... beep.... beep...." followed by "bang".

Except you don't even get to hear that because the robot ship doesn't need any air in which to make a sound...

I suppose you could focus on the ground action - 90mins of some guy pacing backwards and fowards muttering "metric, imperial, metric, imperial, fuck which was it?...".

This technology was first used... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713096)

...on intestinal polyps found during colonoscopies, but the high death rate make it economically infeasible in that application.

In a related story..... (5, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713100)

NASA announces the hiring of Wile E. Coyote to a Senior Staff position....

This just in..... (2, Funny)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713186)

New Space robots look amazing like a 1972 Ford Pinto ...

warning: humor follows (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713130)

Will these explorer androids be launched by the JSA? Jihad Space Agency?

Re:warning: humor follows (1)

Falkkin (97268) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713850)

-1, humor not appreciated

Re:warning: humor follows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713854)

something is wrong with your subject line

Re:warning: humor follows (1)

madcow_bg (969477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715136)

... in a galaxy far, far away.

From your post, at least.

'Small and Cheap' (2, Interesting)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713156)

Sometimes I wonder what they mean by cheap. I suppose they mean cheap in comparison to other robots they could send. Either way, I do find this a bit exciting. It might lead to some interesting discoveries. Who knows, we could soon by mining these asteroids some day and all these experiments will pay for themselves. Then again, with all the budget cuts NASA has been taking these days, I wonder if these small and cheap robots will even get off the ground. I suppose only time will tell.

Last words from the robots: (4, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713212)

"I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed."

Re:Last words from the robots: (1)

LandKurt (901298) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714474)

"Let there be light." (Bomb #20 - Dark Star)

Aliens! (1)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713238)

"Aliens attacked earth today after encountering our army of exploding robots and interpreting them as an act of war. News at 10."

Obligatory (2, Funny)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713244)

Bite my shiny metal ass!

Easy Economics: Capital vs Labor (3, Funny)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713252)

With the proliferation of people willing to strap bombs to their chests in order to "make the world better," it would certainly be easier (and cheaper) to recruit people who already know how to walk to a location and self-detonate than to spend it on "high tech" solutions.

I can see the ad campaign now:

"Tired of being labeled a terrorist? Why not join the new Space Explorers Club and really help humanity! Visitation with Allah guaranteed after mission! Sign up today!"

Then research funds could be freed up to build robotic solutions the world REALLY want... sex bots! Woo!

(For the humor impaired, insert tongue into cheek and re-read. ;) )

No Way! (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17716344)

Then research funds could be freed up to build robotic solutions the world REALLY want... sex bots! Woo!

The last thing I need is an exploding sex bot, thanks.

Exploding Robots? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713266)

This is a job for Agatha Hetrodyne [girlgeniusonline.com]

Explosions? Quagmire! (1)

Prysorra (1040518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713282)

Call it a quagmire and the media will be all over it....

Any PR = good PR.

Nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713288)

Insurgents in Iraq have been using these for years

Why are we not Performing Collisions? (-1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713310)

I don't understand why, when you're trying to understand asteroid collisions with the Earth, you don't perform asteroid collisions with other planets? It seems to me that the very first thing you'd want to do when trying to understand a collision would be to nudge asteroids of varying compositions into a distant planet where probes are on standby to observe the collisions.

We like to think that we know so much about the collisions already based upon our models for what happens, but these are all assumptions. The few events that seem to have involved surviving witnesses (like the Great Chicago Fire, which appears to have been the result of Earth passing through cometary debris) indicated *electrical* phenomenon at the sites of impact -- things like ball lightning, high fragmentation and a rain of smaller particulates. Sudden electrical discharges occurred between metal objects in peoples' homes, St Elmo's Fire electrically illuminated structures, and electrical surges between coins in one man's pockets were enough to kill him. It seems to me that we should be first trying to validate our *assumptions* about impacts because based upon at least these apparent eyewitness accounts, our assumptions may be flawed. What was it about that cometary debris that induced so much electrical activity on the surface of the planet?

There are lots of reasons to suspect that our knowledge of impacts is less than we believe. For instance, we *assume* that the reason that nearly all impact craters are round is because the kinetic impact creates an explosion. But there are other potential plasma-based explanations that have been ignored. When two plasmaspheres come into contact, for instance, it is known that electrical interactions can occur. If a significant electrical discharge happens between the ground and the object, then a round crater would form. It may turn out, in fact, that this is the key to disrupting them. We just don't yet know.

Even though Mars is not an ideal replication of the Earth's atmosphere, we could still learn things by observing such collisions. It would provide interpretable data where there currently is very little to speak of. And the spectacle of colliding large bodies in space would surely renew interest by younger kids in space.

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

xeromist (443780) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713532)

If we could easily push asteroids into a planet why not just push them away when they approach Earth?

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713910)

If we could easily push asteroids into a planet why not just push them away when they approach Earth?

Shouldn't we be trying?

Do we really need to know the composition of an asteroid before trying to nudge one?

Seems to me that we just need to know to what extent nudging works, and what sort of complications will arise when we try it. I guess I'm just not sure what the impediment is to trying this right now. I would guess that we'd want to do numerous test runs before expecting that the system works anyways. Is it that we cannot generate enough thrust to displace the orbit or a typical asteroid?

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715602)

Step one: How (un)stable are these things?

Without knowing their composition, we could do as you suggest and send a massive probe up there and have it try to land and end up sinking thraight through with no purchase hold.

Most things you buy from the shops have been tested to destruction, this mission sounds like the toffee hammer approach, we can move onto bigger things when it fails to crack.

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713984)

I don't understand why, when you're trying to understand asteroid collisions with the Earth, you don't perform asteroid collisions with other planets?

Shoemaker-Levy-9, meet Jupiter.

Oh right, that was a comet and a gas giant, not an asteroid and an iron core rock-and-water ball.

Come to think of it, why not set up durable monitoring posts around Jupiter's moons? That should be a more impact-rich scenario. Save money by recording natural impact phenomena.

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

pln2bz (449850) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714868)

Actually, you may be onto something. Maybe the gravitational pull of Jupiter would make it really easy to push objects into one of its rocky moons. Thing is, if the goal is to understand impacts just as much as nudging, Mars is currently the only planet where we could have ring-side seats in place ready to observe the collision.

As for the cometary impact on Jupiter though, people seem to have conveniently forgotten that the Shoemaker-Levy-9 encounter with Jupiter caused more questions than answers. From http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2006/arch06/0605 29deepimpact.htm [thunderbolts.info] :

Astronomers expected the encounter to be a trivial event. "You won't see anything. The comet crash will probably amount to nothing more than a bunch of pebbles falling into an ocean 500 million miles from Earth." Then came the encounter and an about face. As reported by Sky & Telescope, "When Fragment 'A' hit the giant planet, it threw up a fireball so unexpectedly bright that it seemed to knock the world's astronomical community off its feet."

[...]

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) detected a flare-up of fragment "G" of Shoemaker-Levy long before impact at a distance of 2.3 million miles from Jupiter. For the electrical theorists this flash would occur as the fragment crossed Jupiter's plasma sheath, or magnetosphere boundary. Thornhill comments: "A plasma sheath, or 'double layer', is a region of strong electric field, so the outburst there of an electrified comet nucleus is expected.

[...]

Just after the impact of SL-9 fragment "K", HST detected unusual auroral activity that was brighter than Jupiter's normal aurora and outside their normal area. Radiation belts were disrupted. There were unexpectedly bright X-ray emissions at the time of impact. But one mystery was never explained satisfactorily: Early impact events were hidden from the Earth behind Jupiter's limb. However, the Galileo spacecraft was positioned 150 million miles away from Jupiter at an angle that gave it a ringside seat for these events. But Earth-based observatories saw some of the impacts start at the same time Galileo did. "In effect, we are seeing something we didn't think we had any right to see," said Dr. Andrew Ingersoll of Caltech. "...it seems clear that something was happening high enough to be seen beyond the curve of the planet," said Galileo Project scientist Dr. Torrence Johnson of JPL.

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

der_pinchy (1053896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17717290)

Hey dude, I started reading the electric universe and am really fascinated by the whole electric universe theory. I like how they explained the results of the deep impact mission. I dont understand why those scientists keep wanting to insist that theres ICE in those frelling comets when its obvious there isnt. What I havent seen in the book is an explanation for is why some asteriods leave plasma trails and show themselves as a comet and others dont? Or do they all behave like that? They oughta try to simulate the behaviour of these asteriods in a lab by subjecting it to the same conditions in space with plasma and see if they can get them to break like that one that split for no apparent reason. At least try to reproduce it all on a small scale.

is your signature a troll? (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714144)

because if you respond, any down-moderation is undone automatically due to possible conflict of interest.

Re:is your signature a troll? (1)

MyNymWasTaken (879908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715122)

Ignorant, trolling and/or confusing /. with digg.

Re:is your signature a troll? (1)

FLEB (312391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715164)

I like it. It's a clever play along the lines of the old "Press Alt-F4 to [do something]" trick (which, I suppose, is a less clever play of the old "Type +++ to [do something]" trick, but that's admittedly before my time).

Re:Why are we not Performing Collisions? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17716902)

There are lots of reasons to suspect that our knowledge of impacts is less than we believe. For instance, we *assume* that the reason that nearly all impact craters are round is because the kinetic impact creates an explosion. But there are other potential plasma-based explanations that have been ignored. When two plasmaspheres come into contact, for instance, it is known that electrical interactions can occur. If a significant electrical discharge happens between the ground and the object, then a round crater would form. It may turn out, in fact, that this is the key to disrupting them. We just don't yet know.

Actually, when two plasma spheres come into contact, there is definitely electrical interactions because plasma == ionized (as in electrically charged) gas.

Also, we don't assume that kinetic impacts create round craters, the most basic of physics experiment (drop a weight in sand) shows that they do.

Disrupting any hypothetical electrical charge(it is reasonable to assume that a meteor would become charged travelling through the atmosphere if it isn't already) would involve discharging it, which is exactly what would cause any electricity-related crater. Nevertheless even if you could do this the rather substantial kinetic energy of the meteor would be unaffected and thus a large round crater is guaranteed should the meteor survive to hit the ground.

Sounds to me like a back-door way to sneak in more of that Electric Universe nonsense, where the most studied, most well understood of the fundamental forces, the one that is most frequently used to do astronomical observations with terrific accuracy, is also simultaneously mysterious and ephemeral, not well understood, and oddly enough denied by main-stream astronomy.

ObPython (1)

sparcnut (775902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713316)

The robot on top of your asteroid will now explode.

*boom*

Gandalf quotation (1)

LeDopore (898286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713332)

He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

Re:Gandalf quotation (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713498)

Gandalf was obviously NOT a geek.

Re:Gandalf quotation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713936)

Gandalf quotation: He who breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.


You are correct. We should always base our highest technology research on the advice of a fictional character.

Re:Gandalf quotation (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714612)

If the advice is sound, what difference does it make if it came from a fictional character. When Yoda says, "Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'", is it somehow less valid because it came out of the mouth of a glorified sock puppet? When the fictional Captain Jean-Luc Picard says,"With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." (incidentally, quoting another fictional character) does that mean that we are not chained when a thought is forbidden or a freedom denied?

Hey Baby, (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713338)

I build exploding space robots for a living.
Now there's a pickup line...

Stupid Plan (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713400)

If you are making robots capable of moving around and blowing up, why not make them lay the explosive and then back away to a safe spot? The robot could lay multiple bombs and never be destroyed. Why throw away good robotics?

Re:Stupid Plan (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714842)

You could drop a bomb then run away, but you would soon run out of power and have a useless robot anyway. If you really want to save the robot, you would need to add solar panels. You would also have to include a mechanism for dropping the bombs. You would also need to redesign the robots to withstand the wear and tear of space. Then you must think about the scientific benefit of having a robot on an asteroid you've already studied. In the end, it's far cheaper and efficient to just build and exploding robot.

Armageddon (3, Funny)

writerjosh (862522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713410)

Send Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck up there again. They're cheap and expendable. Plus they're not doing any good down here.

As long as the probe survives. (1)

IMarvinTPA (104941) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713412)

I just hope the probes can reach the surface of the comet at all.
It may unexpectedly detonate before [thunderbolts.info] it even reaches the surface.

IMarv

oh yes! (1)

el_coyotexdk (1045108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713484)

Robot Lemmings!

Re:oh yes! (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714008)

Robot Lemmings!
Bomberdroid!

robot conversation (1)

planckscale (579258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713490)

BOOOOM!

Beezbot. This is Robot 35. Robot W34 detonated - Boop beep bop. Composition of asteroid is rock

This is Commander Robot. Robot W35 please detonate

This is W35. Why?

This is Commander Robot. We need to determine composition of asteroid

BOOOOM!

Beezbot. This is Robot 36. Robot W35 detonated - Boop beep bop. Composition of asteroid is rock

...

I likey... (1)

DoomHaven (70347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17716738)

... and I'm responding to mark this awesome thought for later consumption.

Where to send resume... (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713530)

Remote control sharks [slashdot.org] or exploding robots... remote control sharks... exploding robots... Argh!

Virgin robots? (2, Funny)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713544)

Are the suicidal robots being misinformed about 72 virgin robots awaiting them?

Re:Virgin robots? (1)

MousePotato (124958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714296)

Are the suicidal robots being misinformed about 72 virgin robots awaiting them?
no, but, can you imagine the new nasa press releases;

KSC, FLORIDA - In a bold initiative against rogue asteroids ordered by the Bush administration, NASA engineers have announced today that 3 asteroid probes have suceesfully completed their martydom operations. Each probe's sacrifice against the Trojans has brought the jihad to new levels and liberated us from the threat of these wandering interstellar crusaders in a series of pre-emptive strikes designed to provide security to the American peoples and bring democracy to peoples of the world.

We used to call those "missles" (1)

James McP (3700) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713560)

All funnin' aside, this does advance science quite a bit. I'm happy to see the "science bombs" properly specced out as disposable tech rather than the live-forever approach NASA typically produces (Go rovers!)

Plus, I'm all for having an OTS weapon system for targets within the solar system. But I blame that on my recent reading list. Curse you John Ringo! Curse you, your Posleen and Von Neumann probes all to hell!

The title... (2, Funny)

xENoLocO (773565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713584)

... kind of reads like a test sentence for a font.

"Exploding Robots May Scout Hazardous Asteroids" ..

"The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

Except... (1)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715340)

Well, except for the missing F, J, K, Q, and V.

Take a look a the number of letters of the alphabet that are in "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."

Re:Except... (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17717046)

Ok, then.

"Exploding Robots May Scout Fjqvking Hazardous Asteroids"

Makes at least as much sense as "Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz."

They Sent Malfunctioning Eddie? (1)

good soldier svejk (571730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713618)

The most famous exploding robot I know is rocket car magnate Malfunctioning Eddie. [wikipedia.org] "Hi I'm Malfunctioning Eddie, and I'm malfunctioning so badly, I'm practically giving these cars away."

UI (1)

mchale (104743) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713632)

I can just picture the NASA folks controlling the robots with an interface based off of Lemmings.

A Drahnasa or two... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713634)

...and we'll have self-replicating probe-robots we can sell to a weird race living on a gas giant somewhere in the upper left corner of the galaxy. Hell, let's skip the whole selling thing and reprogram the probes ourselves to uhh, you know... collect information and raw materials?

Japanese? (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713700)

The exploding robots are part of a Japanese Supervillians group of henchmen, who, as many are aware, always explode spectacularly when hit in just the right way.

Reducing costs even more (1)

mandreiana (591979) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713782)

To reduce complexity and costs, the probes lack solar panels and run on battery power

Batteries will reduce costs even further, igniting the increasing power of explosions, as seen on laptops :)

What a waste! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17713832)

Instead of going for a dramatic explosion and wasting all the time and money it took to get the robot there,
why not just have the robot drop off an explosive module and then get it to skedaddle
somewhere else to help monitor the earth shattering kaboom?

Look how long the Mars Rovers have been going beyond their planned duration.

I say let the robots live.

Juffo-Wup (1)

lonechicken (1046406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713880)

When these giant masses hurl toward Earth, would the exploding robots help us to more fully understand Juffo-Wup?

I didn't hit it that hard.... (1)

Fuckin ROBOTS! (999276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713930)

Must have had a self destruct mechanism...

Stupid robots.

Sorry... (1)

rubberchickenboy (1044950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17713946)

It is now time for the robot on top of your asteroid to explode.

Defective products get another use? Brilliant! (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714182)

To reduce complexity and costs, the probes lack solar panels and run on battery power, limiting their lifetime to a few days. [...] Eventually the probes could detonate onboard explosives, sacrificing themselves for science one by one.
Seeing the possibility for further profit, Sony has opened an Aeronautical division within the company. The Aeronautical division is planning to take all recalled Sony laptop batteries and sell them NASA, thereby nabbing two birds with one stone. The only potential problem, according to Sony, is the random explosion time of the batteries.

Feel sorry for the last one. (1)

Goldrush (888847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714186)

Probes that had not yet detonated would listen for any seismic waves sent rippling out from the explosion,

So the last probe will sacrifice itself for nothing?

Re:Feel sorry for the last one. (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714270)

The probes run on battery power so they only last a few days.
If you were the last remaining robot on a lone desolate asteroid would you rather wait out your final hours, dying and withering away while your battery fades.. or would you rather go out with a bang and make it a quick painless death?

Anyone for Antiquing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17714372)

"I'm alright"

Unlike Star Wars (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714582)

Probes do not have to self destruct by design!

But I guess this will be useful if Aliens discover them. Of course they will be mad as hell at us when they give the probe to their kid to play with and it gets its tentacles blown off!

HanSolo (1)

jdigriz (676802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714584)

"An Imperial Probe droid. Couldn't have hit it that hard, must have self-destructed." -ObHanSolo

I am fluent... (1)

MatrixCubed (583402) | more than 7 years ago | (#17714752)

"I am fluent in six million forms of communication. This signal is not used by the Alliance. It could be an Imperial code."

How many times do I have to tell you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17715310)

Aiming an EXPLODING ROBOT at an asteroid is certain to be interpreted by the residents of said asteroid as an ACT OF WAR. Swift and merciless retaliation will soon follow! We need to stop destructive exploration before we REALLY piss someone off!

Waist of time (1)

G00F (241765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715318)

This is a waist of time and resources.

At the most, they find out what that meteaor is made out of, and they plan to use that to speculate what others are made up from.

Not all are the same. They could be from different planets/moons, or even parts (think core vs crust on earth).

Rather than figure out what the one they are testing is made of, we should look into ways to change the orbit/destroy meators regaurdless of their composition.

An early detection system with multiple ways to move it and destroy them.

Uh oh... (1)

SlideRuleGuy (987445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17715636)

"Let's try this thing out on _that_ asteroid...it's not headed for earth."
(BOOOM)
"OK, now run your calculations on the trajectories of the fragments."
"Uh oh...."

Two great devices that go great together (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17716366)

Hmm, an exploding device that runs on battery power. Where have I head that before?

Glad they found some constructive use for the Sony battery recall after all.

Manufacturer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17716554)

How about giving Sony a go at making these things? They seem to be pretty good at creating exploding objects lately.
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