Science

Smart Dust and Micro Rockets

Posted 1 May 2001 at 22:13 UTC by steve Share This

Imagine a tiny rocket 2mm in diameter and 9mm high. Fueled by ammonium perchlorate and hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB), it can accelerate at 2g for 10 seconds carrying a 1 mg payload. What do you do with a micro rocket? Launch Smart Dust of course. Each dust particle is an autonomous robot with sensors and communications gear. Most people you mention this to immediately ask about the effect on the environment, on humans if it's inhaled, or on privacy if used by the government. But the inventor, Kris Pister, believes the potential benefits of smart dust outweight such risks. He says the dust can be used to study the inner workings of a tornado, monitor the battlefield for the presence of chemical weapons, and a host other monitoring tasks.

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