beowulf in space

Jim Ahia jahia at mail.umesd.k12.or.us
Thu Apr 24 05:34:41 EDT 2003


As I was reading this thread, some things came to mind that might add to
the discussion:

1 ) although Dells and Gateways are too heavy to lift into orbit,
pc-104 systems might be the solution.  3.6 x 3.8 inch pentium-class
motherboards with a single 5v power requirement make things much
smaller.  It is completely possible to have each node fit into the space
of a half-height CD-ROM drive.  Can anyone say "cluster in one box"?

2 ) Has anyone yet mentioned the possibility of mesh networks using
802.11 for robotics clustering?  Such networks of robots might make site
construction, ship construction, and mining feasible.  

Mining the surface of the moon is well documented to provide hydrogen,
oxygen, aluminum, silica, and titanium.  Launching fuel & materials for
spacecraft to an orbital construction facility might make more sense
than the billions we are spending now, if the mine, transport, and
construction are largely carried out by robotics under the oversight of
a resident cluster with ground-based monitoring.

Using a similar swarm of robots for site construction on mars prior to
human arrival can have a major impact on mission success.

If all robots use identical motion base and cpu, then 2 broken bots can
be cannibalized to return one working bot to service.  

If all of the robots that are currently recharging batteries are added
to the cluster as mains-connected nodes, then a cluster of sorts is in
effect to speed control processing of the 'hive'.  This is assuming that
the central site has the main power supply system online, be it solar,
nuc, whatever.

-Jim Ahia
-makenamicro at charter.net
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