Tuesday, May 25

Oh to have been at that focus group.

"We need a name for this project: think people! Flying robots that will someday save the world. It has to be catchy - so people will like them and we can get funding. HAH! I've got it: MADMEN!!!!!"

USATODAY.com - Asteroid-eating robots considered for Earth's protection: While those methods promise some fantastic explosions - and maybe a blockbuster hit - a team of engineers are looking at a more patient approach. Their weapon: a swarm of nuclear-powered robots that could drill into an asteroid and hurl chunks of it into space with enough force to gradually push it into a non-Earth impacting course.
'We're aiming to examine the whole idea of these robots,' said Matthew Graham, design project manager for the study at SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc. (SEI), an engineering consulting and concept analysis firm in Atlanta, Georgia.
SEI researchers have completed a preliminary study into the robots, called Modular Asteroid Deflection Mission Ejector Node (MADMEN) spacecraft, under a grant awarded by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC) to come up with new techniques to defend the planet against pesky near-Earth objects (NEOs).
'Previous studies by NASA and NIAC focused on concepts that could detect asteroids or bump them using propulsion systems of nuclear weapons,' NIAC director Robert Cassanova told SPACE.com. '[MADMEN] was rather unique in that it would nibble away at the asteroid.'

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