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Fraser
2006-Jun-08, 04:25 AM
SUMMARY: MIT engineers recently delivered a tiny satellite to the International Space Station. About the size of a soccer ball, this tiny robot is designed to demonstrate how future satellites could be built much much smaller. It's equipped with a set of carbon dioxide thrusters which allow it to maneuver inside the station. Two additional SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold Engage Re-orient Experimental Satellites) will be delivered to the station over the next few years to test how they can fly in formation.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/miller_s_droids.html)
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Ronald Brak
2006-Jun-08, 09:12 AM
I'm sorry, but to me it sounds like that floating ball Ben Kenobi used to train Luke Skywalker in the use of the force on board the Millenium Falcon in Star Wars.

But yes, the trend has definitely been towards satellites that do more and more per gram of weight. I presume this trend will continue.

ukuleledre
2006-Jun-09, 12:08 PM
It seems like I read a few years back that these robots were initially inspired by those very same Jedi training spheres of which Mr. Brak speaks. I, for one, am glad to see some progress on this front, as I have been conditioned by science fiction to expect to one day have small, smart robots doing a lot of my work for me... in space... in the future.

However, I must admit that I am angered whenever something has a name that was determined solely by the resulting acronym. It reminds me of the USA/PATRIOT act.