robot probe

anonymous asked:

Any old giant robots that are not Japanese??

Well, here’s a few off the top of my head:

One of my favorites has to be “the Iron God” by Jack Williamson, from 1941. It’s exactly like Williamson’s other story about evil robots, “the Humanoids,” where superintelligent and superpowerful robots that can out-think humans emerge and micromanage us for our own protection. The ending of “the Iron God” is a bit of a downer. I have no idea where people got it in their heads that pulp era science fiction was all about optimistic futures.

You also have the Metal Emperor from A. Merritt’s horror/lost world story, “The Metal Monster,” about a lost city of living metal men discovered in the Himalayas.

All-American Boy inventor Tom Swift built a giant robot in his own series.

Magnus, Robot Fighter fought a giant probe robot in his comic of the same name. 

Okay, I’m going to ask you something, and I would like you to think about it before giving an the immediate response: do the Martian tri-legged fighting machines from War of the Worlds count as mecha? I think they do. They’re legged machine craft with a pilot inside. This is potentially a “is a hot dog a sandwich” question, but I think the tripods count as mecha by the modern definition.


NASA’s Cassini Mission Prepares for ‘Grand Finale’ at Saturn

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, in orbit around Saturn since 2004, is about to begin the final chapter of its remarkable story. On Wednesday, April 26, the spacecraft will make the first in a series of dives through the 1,500-mile-wide (2,400-kilometer) gap between Saturn and its rings as part of the mission’s grand finale.

“No spacecraft has ever gone through the unique region that we’ll attempt to boldly cross 22 times,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

“What we learn from Cassini’s daring final orbits will further our understanding of how giant planets, and planetary systems everywhere, form and evolve. This is truly discovery in action to the very end.”

During its time at Saturn, Cassini has made numerous dramatic discoveries, including a global ocean that showed indications of hydrothermal activity within the icy moon Enceladus, and liquid methane seas on its moon Titan.

Now 20 years since launching from Earth, and after 13 years orbiting the ringed planet, Cassini is running low on fuel. In 2010, NASA decided to end the mission with a purposeful plunge into Saturn this year in order to protect and preserve the planet’s moons for future exploration – especially the potentially habitable Enceladus.

But the beginning of the end for Cassini is, in many ways, like a whole new mission. Using expertise gained over the mission’s many years, Cassini engineers designed a flight plan that will maximize the scientific value of sending the spacecraft toward its fateful plunge into the planet on Sept. 15. As it ticks off its terminal orbits during the next five months, the mission will rack up an impressive list of scientific achievements.

“This planned conclusion for Cassini’s journey was far and away the preferred choice for the mission’s scientists,” said Linda Spilker, Cassini project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Cassini will make some of its most extraordinary observations at the end of its long life.”

The mission team hopes to gain powerful insights into the planet’s internal structure and the origins of the rings, obtain the first-ever sampling of Saturn’s atmosphere and particles coming from the main rings, and capture the closest-ever views of Saturn’s clouds and inner rings. The team currently is making final checks on the list of commands the robotic probe will follow to carry out its science observations, called a sequence, as it begins the finale. That sequence is scheduled to be uploaded to the spacecraft on Tuesday, April 11.

Cassini will transition to its grand finale orbits, with a last close flyby of Saturn’s giant moon Titan, on Saturday, April 22. As it has many times over the course of the mission, Titan’s gravity will bend Cassini’s flight path. Cassini’s orbit then will shrink so that instead of making its closest approach to Saturn just outside the rings, it will begin passing between the planet and the inner edge of its rings.

“Based on our best models, we expect the gap to be clear of particles large enough to damage the spacecraft. But we’re also being cautious by using our large antenna as a shield on the first pass, as we determine whether it’s safe to expose the science instruments to that environment on future passes,” said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at JPL. “Certainly there are some unknowns, but that’s one of the reasons we’re doing this kind of daring exploration at the end of the mission.”

In mid-September, following a distant encounter with Titan, the spacecraft’s path will be bent so that it dives into the planet. When Cassini makes its final plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, it will send data from several instruments - most notably, data on the atmosphere’s composition – until its signal is lost.

“Cassini’s grand finale is so much more than a final plunge,” said Spilker. “It’s a thrilling final chapter for our intrepid spacecraft, and so scientifically rich that it was the clear and obvious choice for how to end the mission.”

As I may have mentioned before, I kinda have this habit of constructing big, elaborate fantasy settings without any idea of what to use them for. They could make for decent novel concepts, if I had any ideas for plots or characters, or they could work well as RPG settings, just without any plans for system mechanics or anything else for that matter. There seem to be other people on this site who enjoy reading these kinds of things as much as I do, however, so I’ve written up blurbs on three of my most recently active ideas for a lark. 

Some people have OCs, I suppose, while I seem to have settings instead. Either way, asking me questions about any of these concepts is a great way to get me to talk for a long-ass time about my purposeless pet fantasy worlds. 

Space Fantasy: All sorts of Standard Fantasy Worlds exist on different planets but they don’t actually matter as much as the cultures and factions that live in space full-time. Fantasy Space works more or less just like real space except that stars are vast and slow-thinking gods and ships can go faster than light by riding the love poetry stars send to one another. Living in space is hard, so the cultures who do so usually don’t have any other option. Space empires are really impractical but that doesn’t stop people from trying, and battles between ships tend to be 1 on 1 rather than involving giant fleets. Also, said space battles are fought with giant magic robots, because I’m shamelessly in love with the idea. 

Weird Fantasy: It’s the future, humans are all dead, and all sorts of strange creatures have inherited the earth. These include, but are not limited to: sentient beetle colonies, animated human skeletons, sentient plants (or rather, sentient non-human souls that grow plant bodies for themselves), the dreams of slumbering dragon monsters, dogs, and robot space probes returning to earth and wondering what the hell happened while they were away. Society is very cosmopolitan, with people from all the different species living together rather than in totally separate societies. A lot of the story’s focus would be on the complexities and challenges of people with such different needs and natures living together, and the different ways they all try to connect to the extinct humans whose ruins still cover the earth. 

Gothic Fantasy: Once, the nobles of the great houses drank the blood of dragons to attain great power and longevity, but now that the dragons have been hunted to extinction the nobles have nothing to prey on save for each other. Both the land and its people have been twisted by centuries of rampant blood magic;  ordinary people descended from living weapons of war learn to fear the monstrous strength that lies latent in their bodies, while others embrace their dark side and seek to create a world in which mere humanity has no place. I imagine lots of focus on the wars and politics of the cannibal vampire nobles who all want to drink each others’ blood. The setting stems from an idea of people finding magic, dedicating their entire society to it, and then looking at themselves in horror at what they’ve done to themselves with its power.  Definitely the darkest idea on my back-burner to have started life as a concept for a Naruto spinoff in highschool. 

So you heard Seven to Eternity is awesome (it is!) and you want to check out more by Rick Remender...

In his newest series, SEVEN TO ETERNITY, Rick Remender, with artist Jerome Opeña and colorist Matt Hollingsworth, tells a story about family and freedom, set in an exquisite fantasy world replete with great and terrible magic.  

The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must join a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God, or accept the God’s promise to give Adam everything his heart desires. All men have surrendered their freedom for fear. Now, one last free man must choose.

SEVEN TO ETERNITY is one of the most beautiful and exciting new releases this week!  Keep reading to find five awesome graphic novels by Rick Remender you should check out next!

Keep reading


A small figure gallops across the windswept ice slope. The bundled rider is mounted on a large gray snow lizard, a Tauntaun. Curving plumes of snow rise from beneath the speeding paws of the two-legged beast.  

The rider gallops up a slope and reins his lizard to a stop. Pulling off his protective goggles, Luke Skywalker notices something in the sky.  He takes a pair of electrobinoculars from his utility belt and through them sees smoke rising from where the probe robot has crashed.


Putting Graphene to Work

Yesterday we saw how graphene can be used as a lubricant to make friction disappear. Today scientists reveal that the two-dimensional sheets of linked carbon atoms can be fashioned into hinges and springs to build microscale machines.

cornelluniversity researchers made the tiny devices using principles from kirigami, the ancient art of cutting and folding paper. Melina Blees and her colleagues decided to try the approach after early studies poking graphene sheets showed that the material behaves physically much like paper–it folds and crumples outside of the sheet’s plane but doesn’t stretch or compress within the plane. Learn more and see photos and video below.

(A large sheet of graphene can be crumpled like soft paper and returns to its original shape in a water and soap solution.)

Keep reading


Droid #325

Spaceships, Droids and Von Neumann Probes.

A whole bunch of sketches done today in a couple of sketchbooks and on a few post it notes. Some weird little one, two and three-man vacuum-rated spacecraft - maybe little interplanetary hoppers and freighters, doing the run between Enceladus and Dione?

Couple of little droids/drone type things too. Got me thinking perhaps they were Von Neumann Probes.

Lots of fun drawing these - and love the little splash of colour from a highlighter pen that was kicking around on a colleague’s desk.

Inspired by today’s comet landing, here’s my pitch for an exciting new science-based TV show: Cometlock! In the first episode, the long and lonely space journey of robot probe Johnae Watsetta comes to a happy end when he lands on Comet 221B. Yes, the surface may be a little bumpy, but Johnae is well equipped to handle a bit of rough…


Behind the Scenes of The Waters of Mars (Part Six)

Excerpts from Benjamin Cook’s interview with Lindsay Duncan in DWM 415:

“Where’s Gadget?” asks assistant script editor Jennie Fava.  “He must be around here somewhere.”

“Probably lying in the corner, broken,” replies veteran Doctor Who director Graeme Harper.  Gadget is a three foot tall, Wall-E-type robot probe on tracks. (Altogether now: “Awwww!”)  He has two arms, skeletal hands, and big camera-lens eyes. “He’s not on today, is he? Hasn’t he wrapped for this episode?  Thank God.”

“Very temperamental. Attention-seeking, constantly.  And, of course, terribly unpredictable, says Lindsay Duncan, the Captain herself, when asked about the Doctor’s latest friendly-but-temperamental robotic ally.  (See also: K9, Kamelion, and Adric.)  “Every time we try to get a shot, a bit of Gadget drops off,” she laughs.  “But there’s a great deal of humor focused on the Gadget robot, which is delightful and works really, really well, especially in such a dark episode.  I had one of my most joyful times on set, on Gadget, tearing down this strip of corridor.”

Other Waters of Mars behind-the-scenes posts:
[ one ] [ two ] [ three ] [ four ] [ five ] [ seven ] [ eight ]
Full list of behind-the-scenes posts:  [ here ]

Yvonne Brill (1924-2013) was a Canadian-American engineer, best known for developing rocket and jet propulsion technologies. She worked for NASA and the International Maritime Satellite Organization, and earned a reputation as a pioneer in space exploration.

Some of the projects that she worked on include TIROS, the first weather satellite; Explorer 32, the first upper-atmosphere satellite; and the robotic space probe Mars Observer. Her work was recognised with numerous awards, such as the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, or the National Medal of Technology and Innovation.

And so it begins...


I’m scriptAstronomer. I’m here to answer questions about astronomy - planets, moons, stars, galaxies, robot probes, and all that stuff. As the universe is 99.99999% empty space, I know quite a bit about nothing. 

My education is in astrophysics, but I’m not employed in the field. I am, however, an enthusiastic amateur and a galactically huge fan of science fiction in all it’s forms. Scriptwitchcraft has had to sit through a number of my rants directed at sf movies at how they got the astronomy wrong, but could have done it right with a change of one line. It’s not rocket science…

Ask me anything about space, space travel, our solar system, other stars, galaxies, black holes, and the not-so empty space between them all.