robot probe


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.

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.

alchemicalbehemoth  asked:

Who's the girl depicted on Blessed Reversal?

I assume you mean the Urza’s Saga version? That would be Xantcha. She’s a sexless Phyrexian Newt who identifies as a woman, although she frequently pretends to be a young man. She’s the real star of the novel Planeswalker, and saves Urza’s life at the end. Her heartstone is used to make Karn an intelligent being rather than a robotic probe.

It’s also the reason for New Phyrexia.

wall-e (2008)

The world has been over-consumed into an apocalyptic, arid oblivion, in which the ignored consequences of climate change, corporate rule and pollution have rendered humanity lethargic, stupid and space bound.  A single custodial robot (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) toils at task to salvage the earth, and to keep his short circuits safe enough to help a pet ‘roach friend.  Enter Eve, the sleek robot probe that starts Wall-e on a space faring quest through robot riots, human friendship and pixar love.  Featuring: SPACE!!!, Sigourney HAL Weaver, Jeff Garlin and Fred Willard.  Directed by Andrew Stanton.

illustration by shannon may

Human Nature

The mission was simple. Travel to Kepler-186f and populate it. Easy, right? I mean, a small base camp had already been set up by probes and robots sent years ago on previous missions, all with success. The camp was pretty basic, but contained the bare essentials needed to sustain the first landing party and the planet supported life. The atmosphere was identical to Earth’s and had a thriving population of small mammals and fish. This planet was to be renamed upon the success of mankind first setting foot upon its soil.

Our vessel, “Fyrsta” or “The First” was the gleaming marvel from years of research and planning. The technological culmination in what the human spirit can achieve when threatened with extinction. This ship was to be the first of several to arrive. Its builders and designers would never know of its outcome. They would be long dead.

All told, five vessels were launched. Each with a particular mission, with the ultimate goal to colonize Kepler-186f. Our vessel was launched a year before the others. Our mission: ensure the arrival of the other ships went smoothly. Build wooden shelters, start crops, secure the camp from predatory animals with a fence and of course, catalog everything.

Like the twelve Olympians, there were twelve of us on board; 6 men and 6 women, in stasis. No one could survive the 490 light-year journey alert and awake. Paired, like animals on Noah’s Ark, eventually we were to be the first of many to populate that pristine planet that would save all of humanity.

Scientists and programmers are both intellectual types; logical and analytically thinking. A mission this critical, to save the human race, brought together the best scientists, mathmeticians, engineers and programmers the world has ever known. Computer programmers and engineers building precise machinery and software. The existence of humanity required nothing but the best of the best.

Fate, doesn’t come without a sense of irony. We arrived at Kepler-186f, precisely on schedule. The ship was pre-programmed to land without any human intervention. Funny, after 490 light years without a single problem, that the scientists would calculate the landing procedure in meters, and the programmers would code the sequence in feet…


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 ]


Happy 42nd anniversary of the Pioneer 11 problem launch, April 6, 1973.

Pioneer 11 (also known as Pioneer G) is a 259 kilogram (569 lb) robotic space probe launched by NASA on April 6, 1973 to study the asteroid belt, the environment around Jupiter and Saturn, solar wind, cosmic rays, and eventually the far reaches of the solar system and heliosphere.  It was the first probe to encounter Saturn and the second to fly through the asteroid belt and by Jupiter. Due to power constraints and the vast distance to the probe, last contact with the spacecraft was on September 30, 1995. (Source Wikipedia).
Twitter: @thomasguettler

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