Saturday, March 17, 2012

Robots In Spaaaaacccceeee.....

LONGUEUIL, Que. - The Canadian Space Agency is singing the praises of Dextre, a two-armed $200-million robot, for its latest feat.

Five of these legless wonders would cost 1,000 million dollars.

The space agency says that, between March 7 and 9, the 3.7-metre-high robot accomplished what it calls the most intricate work ever performed by a robot in space.

Dextre was used for a mission designed to demonstrate the ability to use robots to refuel and service existing satellites in space.

CSA president Steve MacLean says in a statement the mission required surgical precision.

He compared it to the robotic equivalent of threading a needle while standing on the end of a diving board.

One of Dextre's tasks was to slide a tiny hook under a wire with only about a millimetre of clearance. It was described as the most precise task ever attempted by Canada's state-of-the-art robot.

Let me get this straight: We're 15 trillion dollars in debt, NASA no longer has a vehicle to put our own multi-million dollar astronauts into orbit, and they're spending 200 million dollars on a robot that can thread a freaking needle on a diving board... and it only took a bit over two days to do it.

He's going to "refuel" satellites. A 200 million-dollar gas station attendant.

Wowzers, let's order five of them! That's only 1,000 million dollars!

Mull over that for a minute... 1,000 million dollars - your tax dollars - for some legless robots that will - maybe someday - be able to take over some of the more "mundane" tasks the astronauts now do.

Like our female astronaut corps, which cost hundreds of millions and gained us nothing other than gold stars from the equal opportunity crowd, it demonstrates what happens to a once dynamic, get-er-done organization when the bureaucrats and the feminists take over.

None of this spent treasure has a thing to do with the exploration of space.

But.. but... but... Robots can do dangerous things humans in space can't! And robots don't need special fixtures for the space toilet! And women on the space station can take measurements and read meters every bit as good as men!

OK, true.

But until we get a viable replacement for the shuttle flying, until we no longer owe our children's future to our debtors, until we can manage to refuel a spacecraft without a 200 million-dollar Robbie-the-robot, until we understand that space is not a good place for social experimentation, let's quit throwing away what money NASA does manage to get on boondoggle projects and wasted efforts and start using it wisely.

Sadly, looks like that will not happen.

It's no surprise that NASA is a dying entity.

No comments: