Robotic Observatory Opens On Antarctic Plateau

A robotic observatory - PLATO (PLATeau Observatory) - has been completed on one of Earth's most remote locations - the Antarctic Plateau. With temperatures that drop to minus 130 Fahrenheit, at an altitude of 13,000 feet, the automated facility is an 18-day journey from existing research stations.


(Robotic observatory Dome C, Antarctic plateau)

The expedition was lead by the Polar Research Institute of China; the observatory will begin sending data back by satellite in a few weeks, when darkness returns to Antarctica. The automated observatory is powered by solar panels and by small diesel engines during the lightless winter.

PLATO has a total of seven telescopes; equipment from China, the U.S. and the U.K. was assembled by a team at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

The Antarctic Plateau is considered one of Earth's prime viewing locations. The air is extremely dry; it also features relatively low wind speeds and less atmospheric turbulence. The site should also be ideal for infrared observations.

The location of the site also figures prominently in one of the site's main goals; the continuous observation of an area of the sky over the pole as the Earth rotates.

Let's hope that the team from the Polar Research Institute has a good repair plan for when the robotic observatory needs to be serviced. Dome C in Antarctica is so remote, and the journey there so difficult, it might as well be on another planet. Perhaps they should consider having Robonaut, the dexterous humanoid telepresence robot, onsite for repairs and maintenance.

Science fiction fans know that we're going to need this kind of automated equipment - and people to service them. In his 1959 short story The Repairman, Harry Harrison wrote about automated hyperspace beacons placed at ideal locations on lonely planets.

The first ships to enter hyperspace had no place to go - and no way to tell if they had even moved. The beacons solved that problem and opened up the entire universe. They are built on planets and generate tremendous amounts of power...

For a hyperspace jump, you need at least four beacons for an accurate fix. For long jumps, navigators use up to seven or eight. So every beacon is important and every one has to keep operating. That is where I and the other troubleshooters come in.
(Read more about Harry Harrison's hyperspace beacons)

Via Robotic Observatory Built on Remote Antarctic Summit and Astronomers reach the top of the Antarctic Plateau.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/7/2008)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...' - Frederik Pohl, 1954.

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.' - John W. Campbell

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!' - Michael Crichton, 1984.

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'- John Twelve Hawks, 2014.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'

When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'

LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'

Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'

Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'

Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'

The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'

Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'

Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'

Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'

Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'

TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'

Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'

Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'

Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!

Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.