Space Robotics

CMU's Zoë Begins Final Mission

Posted 10 Aug 2005 at 22:58 UTC by steve Share This

According to a CMU press release, CMU is sending Zoë the autonomous solar-powered rover to the Atacama Desert one more time for a final mission. The robot and crew are leaving on August 17. This time the robot will visit "a foggy coastal region, the dry Andean altiplano, and an area in the desert's arid interior that receives no precipitation for decades at a time". The goal is for the planetary rover prototype is to discover life in the desert on its own. For more details see the CMU Atacama page of the Field Robotics Center. We first reported on the NASA funded Atacama project in 2003. We also covered Zoë's 2004 Atacama mission and on the rover's first success at discovering life.

Zoë = Life, posted 11 Aug 2005 at 01:53 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

Finding a little greecy life on some distant planet reminds me of a bad Star Trek episode. If there are little green men the Zoë robot probably won't find them, but maybe if the little green men play pro football and Zoë licks their feet it may find find pro-toe-zoë. :-)

IANASN, posted 11 Aug 2005 at 13:36 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

Pardon me but Greecy life would involve eating dolmades and smashing plates...

Has to be said..., posted 11 Aug 2005 at 13:47 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)


It's all Greek to Me..., posted 11 Aug 2005 at 20:05 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

I took Greek in Seminary, but that life was less of eating dolmades and more of boring sentence translating. All that's come of it for me is bad greecy puns and learning that what I CAN translate is pretty much what the Bible says anyway so why bother. There are some cool verses like I John chapter one that are cool as well a few others that are neat to see in Greek. But, for the most part learning Greek is really for those who just want to nitpick the Bible which I'm not interested in doing. BTW, Zoe is a greek word that means Life. Does anyone remember the Star Trek Greek episode? I still haven't figured out IANASN. I think I'll put in my signature something like IANAGS (I am not a Greek Scholar). or better yet IANASB (I am not a sentient being). That'd be a cool disclaimer. Well maybe. Naw, nevermind, forget it.

Ooh, posted 13 Aug 2005 at 14:24 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

IANASN = I am not a spelling nazi... 'cos I wanted to make a bad gag about "greecy" and didn't want you to think I was just being fussy. It should really have been "Greecey" for my gag I suppose. Well, "Greek" would be the actual adjective. Oh well.

Still, if it wasn't for my nonsense you might not have said the interesting "Zoë" thing. Cheers.

Hmm. It's not like writing "Emet" (meaning truth) on a golem's head is it? You can then delete the first letter to leave "met" (death) and yer golem is no more. Can you do something similar with Zoë?

Hey - it's just as good a theory of AI as some others that we don't hear about much round here no more...;)

Literary Reference?, posted 17 Aug 2005 at 13:01 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

I know there is an old B&W movie called "The Golem" that I have not seen. Is "Emet" and "Met" from this movie, or some other work?

/love obscure references.

Literary? Schmiterary!, posted 17 Aug 2005 at 16:50 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

The Golem is a figure from Jewish folklore. They're prior art for humanoid robotics. In one version a rabbi would make one out of clay and bring it to life by inscribing "Emet" - meaning "breath" on it's forehead. If the beast became unruly, the panic-struck villagers could delete the first letter to leave "Met" - meaning "DEATH." Yes that's right, magic ritual or pun? You decide. :)

There's a lot of stuff about them on the net, you could start with Wikipedia <<shudder>>... Looking up Jewish stuff you have to watch out for all the Nazi sites though! There's a great 1991 novel by Marge Piercy called Body of Glass (released as He, She, and It in the USA)which interleaves a rather neat robot-cyberpunk story with an account of a 17th Century Prague golem created to protect folks from an impending pogrom.

I should imagine Madonna has some for patrolling the estate... ;)

Wow!, posted 17 Aug 2005 at 17:02 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

I really should read what I post huh?!

Emet is "truth" not "breath" - I appear to have said it right earlier. I don't know Hebrew, I had to look it up. Oops sorry.

Oh, and yes that film is indeed the same story, well you know er. etc.. There have been a few films 1915, and 1920 German ones for a start. One of these is at

In all honesty I can't remember which, if any, of these is horribly anti-semitic...

Thanks!, posted 18 Aug 2005 at 12:49 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

If I have a robot ready for this weekend's DPRG Table Top contest (fat chance), I may have to inscribe "Emet" on it in pencil.

All I've seen of the movie "The Golem" is a B&W still photo. Thanks for all the other info. Good stuff!

Now You've Got Me Watching Dumb Old Movies, posted 18 Aug 2005 at 18:06 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

For goodness sake dogsbody_d, you had to mention that archive video site? Now you've got me wasting all my time downloading and watching dumb old movies. Ugg. Haven't watched the Golem film yet, tho. I love those superman cartoons especially the robot one. Are there other good legal video vaults out there?

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