Tuesday, August 12, 2014

No one stays on top forever

No one stays on top forever, and that goes for every species, even the man-made ones, like robots and cellphones.

Perhaps Curiosity thought herself without competition. I mean the robot's done her job without complaint, attitude or pay. And she's far superior from the other two robots on Mars.

Yet, her days as #1 are numbered. NASA is building 'a better' robot to do more important work. It turns out robots have no better job security than we humans do. You work your butt off, never complaining that with each year, your paycheck stretches thinner and thinner. Then one day, you come to work and they've laid off your whole division, and they learned a trick from Lucent: In order to avoid paying you your fair compensation, they list you by business location, and oddly they've a great deal of 'business locations' in the same building. 

According to the law created to help small businesses, they don't have to pay the legal compensation if there are fewer than X number of people in their business location. So  you take what they generously give you (less than half than what they owed you), sign a letter you will not sue for further recompense and start your life all over again.

Do I sound bitter?  I'm not. I far more enjoy being an author and making people laugh. But still it shows the soulessness of a corporation. They are so NOT people.

So poor Curiosity is going to be demoted. They won't fire him. He'll have a job until he dies. But that's because he cost NASA millions and like the robots before him, they expect him to work til he falls apart.

I can't find a current status of all our robots on Mars, so I'll wade through Wikipedia until I have the answers.

Here's what I discovered: In 2003, we sent two robots to Mars. Opportunity and Spirit.

This is some of the fine mapping that Spirit did in 2004: 

Spirit got caught in a rut in 2010, like so many workers do, and was demoted to detecting wobbles of the planet's rotation (to determine if the planet has water inside). This was so demoralizing that Spirit 'mission ended' [i.e. quit] on May 25th, 2011. They continue to try and talk to it, but it's too depressed to respond.

That put a fire under Opportunity. He has made it through his 6th winter and 5th solar conjunction.

To reward him for his fine mapping skills, they demoted him and brought in Curiosity.

Curiosity, the size of freakin car, landed August 2012.  Being very vain at her top dog status, the first thing she does is takes a selfie of herself.
No artist rendition for her profile pic. thank you very much!
I'm not an expert in selfies, but shouldn't we see an arm or something holding the camera?  

Poor Spirit had nothing to say over Curiosity's arrival. Opportunity sucked it up and said "Glad you've come to Mars. I am yours to command."

Curiosity eyes him over. "Excellent. Take my picture. My fans want to see me. Then I have to assess the geological features of the planet and determine if there is now or ever was life and water on this dirty little sand box."

Opportunity forced a nod of his headlike thing. "Sounds fantastic. If I can help you in anyway possible...do some mapping, dust you wheels, just let me know. I am yours to command."

"What about that one?" Curiosity eyed Spirit.

"It's too depressed to work...unless.  Do you think the two of us together could pull her out her rut?"

"Sorry, not my job," Curiosity replied and sent off her selfie. She then spent her first year proving that Mars did once have conditions that would allow microbial life on it.

Now a new 'better' version of Curiosity, which since they haven't given it a name, I will: Calamity 
is being built for a 2020 landing.

However, some scientist are not happy with some of the 'replacements' being made to the Curiosity base. One is claimed to be an unknown technology, and the scientist feels if Curiosity is not broke, we shouldn't go replacing it's parts in the new model. 

Still, it can do things Curiosity couldn't do or took a long time to do. For something new, it will bring along a reverse fuel cell which turns Carbon Dioxide into Oxygen and Carbon monoxide.  The Oxygen can then be used as a fuel for returning ships. (Yes, I double checked. Oxygen is a viable fuel for space.) Or it can be stored for human to breath when they arrive.

However, this planned conversion leaves us with a planet full of Carbon monoxide. That doesn't sound particular good for humans.
Maybe we can smush the Carbon monoxides together and make more Carbon dioxide which we can then convert into more oxygen.  I just checked. Converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide is what a catalytic converter on the car does. So we just need to add one to Calamity.

Here's a fake selfie for Calamity:
I don't see anywhere to attach the converter...

One of the new additions on its payload is SHERLOC which stands for:  Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) ultraviolet (UV) laser spectrometer.

Sadly, the one who set the goals and objectives of the mission was not the same person who decided what payload it would carry, and he doesn't know a lot about Raman, so he doesn't think it should come along. 

Seriously, dude. You don't know anything about the technology, but you are saying we shouldn't use it? Why don't you fix your ignorance first? It could be the best thing since we discovered how to get oxygen from carbon dioxide!  If you are too tired to learn about new inventions, then step aside and let a smarter human do you job. Just like Curiosity is expected to do when Calamity arrives, and I'm changing her name, since your complaint about her payload is by your own admission based in ignorance.  

It's new name for the robot is Creator-Mini-Me.

Or not...I fear it's new name will give it a God Complex, and since it will someday meet it's replacement, it may get depressed like Spirit.

Well, clearly I need help. What do you wish to name the robot? I have acquired Sonny White's email. (seriously) and I'll send the recommendation through him.  


  1. How about we just name the robot Human or God since it's going to replace the others. :) Seriously I worry about the amount of money we are spending that sits on Mars, especially if they are only taking selfies of themselves! :)

  2. I think why it's a priority is because, unless Sonny White's efforts work (Space time warping) then the only chance for human survival is probably Mars. However, I don't think they will have time to terraform it before we have 25 years of hot castrophic weather, followed by a million year deep freeze.And when you look at from that perspective, a few billion dollars spent on the survival of humans doesn't seem too extravagant.


All spammers will be shot with a plasma gun.