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A Car Driven by a Fly Sent to Andromeda

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(+11, -8)
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Probes containing mathematical formulae, and other scientific data have already been launched into deep space, but every one that I have seen has been as dull as dishwater.

I'd like to send a Mini in the same direction, but one that was specially built so that it could be driven by a fly.

The car, because it's simple technology in one way, but in other senses it contains a huge range of diverse materials, and processes. The fly, because we don't want to give away all our secrets to any pesky aliens - best to keep them guessing as to how a comparatively complex item of equipment, such as a car, could be built and operated by something like a house fly.

xenzag, Oct 12 2010

What_is_the_Lifespan_of_housefly http://wiki.answers...ifespan_of_housefly
2-9 days [csea, Oct 12 2010]

How far away is Andromeda? http://answers.yaho...070515051357AArLHM4
~2.5 billion light years [csea, Oct 12 2010]

https://www.theguar...r-mars-falcon-heavy [xenzag, Feb 07 2018]

Stupid Americans... https://www.youtube...watch?v=Z_kfM-BmVzQ
...paving the way for the rest of mankind. Again. [doctorremulac3, Feb 09 2018]

Another view. https://www.youtube...watch?v=u0-pfzKbh2k
Seriously, no matter where you're from, as a human being you have to be deeply moved by this. [doctorremulac3, Feb 09 2018]

"The Future of Satellite Maintenance" https://www.popular...-maintenance-raven/
The first step is to rendezvous with it. [Wrongfellow, Feb 10 2018]

Failures are the cobblestones we use to pave the road to success. https://www.youtube...watch?v=bvim4rsNHkQ
[doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2018]

Spaceman driving convertable in space. https://www.youtube...watch?v=t_KXgFpguE0
Probably the inspiration for Elon's stunt. [doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2018]


       I'll see your mark and raise you a bun for deceiving alien species* (this comment not safe for the consumption of a pedant. void where prohibited by law. This comment was written by an expert halfbaker on a closed anno box. don't try this at home. Do not remove bun under penalty of law. Side effects may include confusion, drowsiness, or light- headedness. Call your doctor if erection persists for more than four hours. Not to be taken internally.)
Voice, Oct 12 2010

       //everyone that I have seen has been as dull as dishwater.//   

       everyone or every one?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2010

       It's a fair bet that flies ARE an alien species. Even the producers of Starship Trroopers though so, and they were deep-thinking intellectuals, right?
infidel, Oct 12 2010

       First one would need to ensure the car was drivable by a fly. That would entail test drives. That would be fun.
bungston, Oct 12 2010

       But...we'd have to send more than one or they'd be all alone. They have to have some companionship.
These dis-tended tsetses must be played with I say!

       Flies don't live very long. Arguably a robotic fly would be better on all counts.
Spacecoyote, Oct 12 2010

       [infidel], I'm surprised by your knee-jerk reactions!   

       Minis can certainly fly, given enough acceleration. And I've not seen any proof that flies can't mini.   

       Some data [links] may help to answer the lifetime problem.
csea, Oct 12 2010

       It the acceleration is provided by an attached device it's no longer a "mini." but a modification thereof. And if the acceleration is not provided by an attached device the mini can only be hurled.
Voice, Oct 12 2010

       Hurling still counts.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2010

       The shipping weight for a toy minicooper is 1.8 pounds. Have you considered the energy required to accelerate a 1.8 pound object to a speed that will let it get there before the sun runs out?
Voice, Oct 12 2010

       Yes. Have you? Or, more to the point, have you calculated the required energy?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 12 2010

       I have not.
Voice, Oct 12 2010

       You really, really don't want to send it to Andromeda, leaving the fly with the dilemma of paying a fortune for secure parking, or coming back half a local time unit later to find the hubcaps gone ...
8th of 7, Oct 12 2010

       I wonder what they call Andromeda. I bet it's something way cooler. I dunno, something like 'The Milky Way'.
daseva, Oct 12 2010

       Also, a little standing water, a bag of poop, and a means to train the offspring on flying minis and the idea is a go [+].
daseva, Oct 12 2010

       I'm rather convinced they'll be confused as to how we ever invented fire.
RayfordSteele, Oct 12 2010

       //I'm surprised by your knee-jerk reactions! //   

       Well, since I've copped at least one and often three or four spurious MFDs for practically every idea I post, I figured it was good for both goose and gander. This idea is substantially more "magic" than an idea for a robot in a gorilla suit.   

       Flies don't drive cars, including Minis. A Mini, launched into space, would be a lump of frozen space junk in a matter of seconds. It will need a nuclear power source, radiation shielding, propulsion system, atmosphere recycling (even for a fly), backup electrical systems...   

       Before you know it you'll have a Hummer or a Ford Expedition.
infidel, Oct 12 2010

       Or a Ford Prefect.
baconbrain, Oct 12 2010

       //Well, since I've copped at least one and often three or four spurious MFDs for practically every idea I post//   

       Ah, there's your problem [infidel]. You thought they were spurious.
Boomershine, Oct 12 2010

       [infidel] Let me help you out a little with some explanation that seemed to be too obvious to include:   

       The fly is not alive and does not actually drive the car. The car is not "flying", and is not powered in any way. It is just on a trajectory that takes it in a direction for a few billion years. It should be fairly well preserved, unless it experiences a serious impact.   

       Regardless of its condition if ever discovered, it will be of immense interest to those finding it, who should easily determine that the preserved remains consist of a once living organism placed at the controls of a mechanical device. This means that it is in some ways the complete opposite of your good self, who appears to be a rather simple mechanical device operating controls of a living organism. ha!
xenzag, Oct 13 2010

       Rather than being confused, the alien recipients of said practical joke will likely respond by returning to us a giant can of Raid insecticide.
whlanteigne, Jan 12 2013

       Idea could be tested using a bee flying a drone with a container on its back designed to accommodate it.
xenzag, Mar 17 2016

       For me, the problem with this Idea is a lack of self- consistency. For example, if we want those who find this space vessel to think the fly was part of a species that built it, then the fly needs a space suit. Also, why put the fly in a car, when there was a rocket it could appear to have controlled, instead?   

       Next, if the finders do a thorough inspection, wouldn't they discover various remote-control devices, giving the lie to the illusion? So, we need to take a page from the past....   

       I have some old old computers, from before the IBM PC era began, and one of the features of those computers was the ability to plug a game cartridge into it. The entire "system bus" of the computer was exposed at the cartridge port, allowing the cartridge full control.   

       So, our space vessel needs an equivalent cartridge port. All the remote-control equipment would be located in a module aft of the fly-holding part, and would be unplugged from the port, the entire module getting discarded after the vessel is on its final trajectory. We might even blow the module to bits (sideways, by shaped charges), after it separates far enough, to ensure no evidence of its existence follows the course of the primary vessel.
Vernon, Mar 17 2016

       So, even Musk gets his best ideas from the HB. The fly was inside the helmet, but of course this information is never going to be made public. (see last link)
xenzag, Feb 07 2018

       One aspect of this might be of interest. The housefly is one of the more advanced and actually more recent of the insects. Diptera started out in the mid triassic, but the housefly itself is from the Cenozoic era (in other words, now). If you look at most of the modern Diptera, flies such as crane flies, mosquitoes, houseflies, etc. one common theme is a crazy diversity of mouthpart specialisations – presumably to take advantage of food sources otherwise unobtainable. Houseflies and the like are specialised to feed on encrustations, typically of what once was moist but is now drying up. As a niche, this must represent a huge amount of potential food that other similar life forms can’t get at. The housefly is very much among the most advanced insects there are.
Ian Tindale, Feb 08 2018

       To get this or any other space related job done, you'll want to hire SpaceX. See link for where we are in the next step of of space exploration: the Model T of spacecraft. Affordable and practical due to being re-usable.   

       All thanks to the amazing ability of the Socialist Global Network of Politically Correct Anti Capitalists to get things done!   

       What's that? This was accomplished by a private company in the United States Of America? I thought those guys we a bunch of dummies with bad breath?   

       Never mind.
doctorremulac3, Feb 09 2018

       Technically, the narrative is that they are a small coterie of evil geniuses, manipulating a much larger number of dummies with bad breath. So, any impressive outcome can be ascribed to that leavening of evil geniuses. Trust me, I understand this narrative; I was brought up on it.
pertinax, Feb 09 2018

       Well, as long as the narrators get their dummy quota into the story and I get my progress in science in technology, I'm fine with it.   

       By the way, how come you never hear the term "evil dummy"? Lot more of those than evil geniuses.
doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2018

       The rockets that can land are an incredible achievement, but the thing about "we aimed for Mars, but we kind of missed, so it's going to the asteroid belt instead" suggests that it might be a bit early to hire SpaceX for anything outside Earth orbit.
Wrongfellow, Feb 10 2018

       Yes, but remember, they know why they missed now. That's data and data is progress. The first Model Ts probably had some issues as well, but the breakthrough here is that this is the first practical spaceship.   

       To stick with the car analogy, the old system was like having your car incenerate after you drove it to work in the morning requiring a new car for each trip.   

       This is the system we'll use to colonize Mars.   


       And remember how many misses it took before we hit the moon.   

       An interesting idea I read was to consider landing on Phobos before attempting to traverse the atmosphere and gravity of Mars. This would require a much simpler landing and return launch system. We could iron out the kinks of the trip to and from Mars which is no small feat in itself. We made several trips to the Moon before actually landing on it.
doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2018

       I’m operating on the understanding that most of the whole thing was faked (even if the Apollo missions weren’t), although the level of fakery now far exceeds what NASA did back in the 60s (if the 60s did indeed exist at the time). For example, now we can have multi-camera positions, yes, out in space, with live cutting and mixing, and live control over the lighting. When we went out across the galaxy to the moon Pandora, and joined the Na’vi, the level of polygon manipulation and rendering via the fragment shaders and vertex shaders of the day (which have hardly changed to this day) is now immensely improved, so all sorts of made up shit could be portrayed out in space, not just real stuff. Plus, if it were real, it wouldn’t be a dummy in a space suit, it’d be a robot, wouldn’t it.
Ian Tindale, Feb 10 2018

       I'm assuming you're being satirical, but it brings up the thing I like to say to Moon landing deniers. (I understand you're not one, just making the point) The hardest part of putting a man on the Moon or a car into the asteroid belt is getting an object the size of a skyscraper flying at over six thousand miles per hour. That's the hard part. Then you have to land on the Moon or orbit Mars.   

       That's the hard part too.
doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2018

       //Yes, but remember, they know why they missed now. That's data and data is progress.//   

       Of course. I'm not denying that this is a fantastic achievement and I'm sure they'll learn everything they can from it. I expect their next interplanetary jaunt will be far more accurately aimed.   

       I just don't think it's ready for the commercial "big time" just yet. If I wanted to launch a satellite I'd certainly give their sales team a call, but if I wanted to launch a car driven by a fly to Andromeda, I'd hire the Borg instead.   

       Hmm, here's an idea for SpaceX's next stunt: pick an old, broken satellite. Choose any one you like; there are plenty up there. Launch a robot to repair it.   

       //the level of fakery now far exceeds what NASA did back in the 60s//   

       I've never seen the 60s - only recordings of it. I think it must have been faked.
Wrongfellow, Feb 10 2018

       I should have Googled it first, because it turns out they're already working on it! [link]
Wrongfellow, Feb 10 2018

       Say anything you want, but the fact remains: I posted an idea for a car being sent on an interstellar journey 8 years before Musk. Thank you Mr Musk.
xenzag, Feb 10 2018

       Pretty sure the intro to this movie from 1981 was the inspiration. (see link)   

       Regarding failures being the cobblestones on the path to success (oooh, poetic) see the link for an amazing collection of failures leading up to where we are now.   

       The most frustrating would be the one where it landed successfully and one of the legs simply broke, but they're all pretty fascinating.
doctorremulac3, Feb 10 2018

       A housefly neural network and logic, simulated of course, would make quite a good universe investigating probe. The buzzing bit has to be worked out, though.
wjt, Feb 10 2018


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