"There was a time when one old eccentric guy with a notebook could do something important to science. Now even the resources of a major university are often not enough."
- Jerry Pournelle
||Robofish (Mitsubishi Robot Turbot)
||A powerful, meter-long robotic fish used to take samples from liquid lakes on other worlds (like Titan).
Very nice novelette describes the exploration of Titan in a thoroughly modern way; astronauts do pure science while carrying on good public relations via the web.
|Consuelo carefully cleaned both of her suitís gloves in the sea, then seized the shrink-wrapís zip tab and yanked. The plastic parted. Awkwardly, she straddled the fish, lifted it by the two side-handles, and walked it into the dark slush.
She set the fish down. "Now Iím turning it on."
The Mitsubishi turbot wriggled, as if alive. With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.
Lizzie switched over to the fishcam.
Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes. Straight away from the shore it swam, seeing nothing but flecks of paraffin, ice, and other suspended particulates as they loomed up before it and were swept away in the violence of its wake. A hundred meters out, it bounced a pulse of radar off the sea floor, then dove, seeking the depths...
Snazzy Japanese cybernetics took in a minute sample of the ammonia-water, fed it through a deftly constructed internal laboratory, and excreted the waste products behind it. "Weíre at twenty meters now," Consuelo said. "Time to collect a second sample."
The turbot was equipped to run hundreds of on-the-spot analyses. But it had only enough space for twenty permanent samples to be carried back home. The first sample had been nibbled from the surface slush. Now it twisted, and gulped down five drams of sea fluid in all its glorious impurity. To Lizzie, this was science on the hoof. Not very dramatic, admittedly, but intensely exciting...
|From Slow Life,
by Michael Swanwick.
Published by Analog in 2002
Additional resources -
MIT made robofish - in their case, a robotuna - as early as 1994.
This story is a lot of fun - you can read it on the web. Don't miss Slow Life by Michael Swanwick.
Compare to these other underwater robots, Wabbler From The Wabbler (1942) by Murray Leinster and the robotic Eel from Re:Set by Susan Beetlestone.
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