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Flying memory stick

Instead of radio transmission
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

Send a weather balloon, satellite or interplanetary space probe up and let it record all the data you like, but don't transmit it back to Earth because then you don't need the hardware for a transmitter or the need to trace it. Then, get it to jettison a memory stick containing the data. This navigates back to Earth if necessary, parachutes down and uses GPS coordinates to find its target, then sprouts wings, flies to the required location, knocks on your window or door, flies in and docks with your PC's USB port.
nineteenthly, Sep 26 2009

Sneakernet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sneakernet
Physical transport of electro-magnetic data [csea, Sep 26 2009]

Pigeon Packet Transfer Protocol http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc1149
Bigsleep, is this what you're talking about? [goldbb, Sep 27 2009]


       Mmmm, squab. {packet loss message}
normzone, Sep 26 2009

       Back in the day of 8" and 5-1/4" floppy disks (before flash was a glimmer in an engineer's eye,) This used to be called "sneakernet." [link]
csea, Sep 26 2009

       So far as i know, the postal service does not operate from space reliably.
nineteenthly, Sep 27 2009

       Nor does it operate from the UK realiably!
MikeOliver, Sep 27 2009

       A major objection: memory sticks have mass; bits don't. [-]
BunsenHoneydew, Sep 27 2009

       [Goldbb], transmitters have mass too, and i would imagine this would add to the mass of the probe more than a memory stick would as well as adding the complication of an extra thing which could go wrong. Then there's the complication of finding the probe and picking up its signal. None of these things are necessary with a flying memory stick.
nineteenthly, Sep 27 2009

       It seems to me that once your incomunicado satellite or probe has plunged to the bottom of the ocean, burnt up in the atmosphere or got beyond the bow shock of the heliosphere, you might decide it would've been nice if you'd put one of these on it first before you spent all that time, effort and money on it.

OK, the situation is this: We're trying to find a way of taking photographs automatically in the stratosphere and getting them back without having to retrieve the camera. This is a possible though far-fetched brainstorming suggestion of mine as to how to do it. I'm now thinking a radio transmitter might be easier.
nineteenthly, Sep 27 2009


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