Friday, January 7, 2011

Still feeling a bit nautical, eh?

Saw this on Twitter the other day.  The Japanese government is indeed undertaking an undersea imperative.  Robots are being developed to mine the deep sea floor near the Japanese archipelago, where it is believed there are vast, untapped veins of gold, silver, and other rare metals.  Most intriguing to me is the prospect that methane hydrate or "fire ice" could be found.  This stands a chance at being an amazing source of clean fuel.

Plan is for a surface ship to guide the robot as it mines the material and then pipes it back up to the hold of the ship.  "The seafloor mining robot would be capable of operating at a maximum depth of 2,000 meters, equipped with a huge drill and large-bladed excavating device, and would be remote-controlled from a support vessel. For movement, the robot would have either tracks or crablike legs."
I'm voting for the crab legs, myself.  Would just look cooler.

I'm sucker for robots and it's exciting to see these kinds of advancements.  Especially if they can help lead to awful and derivative sci-fi such as in my previous post.

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