ANTS in Space
September 14, 2008 11:22 PM   Subscribe

The Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm (ANTS) " a generic mission architecture consisting of miniaturized, autonomous, self-similar, reconfigurable, addressable components forming structures. The components/structures have wide spatial distribution and multi-level organization. This ‘swarm’ behavior is inspired by the success of social insect colonies...." ANTS may one day teem through the solar system.... (last two links large QT files)

There's quite a number of video clips on the site, collected here.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth (14 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Prey has come true...
posted by digitaldraco at 11:39 PM on September 14, 2008

Interesting simulations. I'm sure there's no lack of well thought out ideas for these types of systems - just lack of funds to even prototype them.

I thought that book was terrible - the science and the premise - that's aside from Crichton being a nut and all.
posted by peppito at 11:57 PM on September 14, 2008

Fabulous post. Thanks!
posted by Minus215Cee at 12:45 AM on September 15, 2008

Hello? Replicators? Grey goo? Have these guys not seen or read any sci-fi in the past 30 years?
posted by Merik at 1:44 AM on September 15, 2008

Did someone say space ants?
posted by PM at 1:46 AM on September 15, 2008

Prey has come true...

That's funny. I was thinking it was more like the network of Von Neumann machines in Spin...
posted by sparkletone at 2:06 AM on September 15, 2008

I can't believe no one has yet welcomed our new insect overlords.
posted by DU at 4:15 AM on September 15, 2008

That's because instead we must welcome our new gray goo overlord!
posted by taursir at 6:20 AM on September 15, 2008

Lem wins again.
posted by aramaic at 6:38 AM on September 15, 2008

The entire time LARA was snaking around on the surface of the moon it was carrying with it enough rocket fuel to reach lunar orbit? That doesn't seem like an efficient use of energy. I'm not even certain why you'd want it back. It would be really dirty.
posted by rlk at 8:25 AM on September 15, 2008

Grey Goo is as much bullshit as FTL travel.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:28 AM on September 15, 2008

Ants aren't taking over the world. Collective action is not sentience... so I'm not that worried.
posted by zpousman at 9:47 AM on September 15, 2008

Nowhere in there does it say anything about these devices self-replicating (which is far from technically feasible at this point)... so comments about grey goo, the execrable Prey and so on seem a bit knee-jerk.

For that matter, NASA's own use of the term "nanotechnology" in the name also seems kind of buzzwordy and almost irrelevant to the concept; they sort of hand-wave about needing nanotubes for weight reduction, but that's about the extent of it. Maybe they just needed the N for the cool acronym.
posted by ook at 2:40 PM on September 15, 2008

posted by adamdschneider at 3:38 PM on September 15, 2008

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