For rovers set for a 90 Martian Day mission, amazing!
NASA engineers are preparing a radical fix that could help the Opportunity Mars rover regain its fading faculties and continue its Red Planet mission. The rover, which has spent ten years rolling across the Martian plains, has been having memory problems for the last six months because the cells in its flash memory have been …
Yes yes but honestly they purposely set expectations very low on the "supposed" life of the rovers in case they did go tits up early in the mission. After that whole billion dollar Mars satellite metric to standard conversion beyond epic fail they have been careful to do that for Mars missions. Still a decade is pretty impressive.
Underestimating the lifespan so they can guarantee some success is one thing, but Opportunity has been working for over forty times it's originally expected lifespan, that's way beyond even the most optimistic projections.
Still, that's one mistaken prediction I'm sure they're happy about.
would it be ethical to send it (him? her?) on a space probe without a return ticket?
That's one of the beauties with AI - it can exist in more than one place at a time. Just transmit the memory state back to earth, fire up a local copy of the software and shutdown the one on Mars.
Depends - would you like it if somebody offered your conscious mind a compulsory body swap?
Sure, mines wrecked anyway!
It'd not be a random other body, it'd be an identical copy to the one the AI had on its best day. Blast me into space and let me play on Mars until my body packs in or the job is done, then bring my mind back to earth and boot it up in a 25 year old version of me..... what's not to like?
Any AI will have to get used to new hosts due to hardware failure or upgrades, as the program will not be allowed to die - too expensive waiting for the replacement to learn what the old one knew. No calculator heaven for those guys I'm afraid.
> fire up a local copy of the software and shutdown the one on Mars.
Ah, but would that really transmit the "being"? The original might not want to shut down. I recall once reading a science fiction story, where a alien race introduced a "teleporter" to humans. The problem is, it worked by transmitting all data about the subject to the destination, where it was reconstructed, then the original (which was not harmed by the process itself) was normally killed. The aliens saw this as a necessary clean-up operation, the humans ... objected.
"... The problem is, it worked by transmitting all data about the subject to the destination, where it was reconstructed, then the original (which was not harmed by the process itself) was normally killed. The aliens saw this as a necessary clean-up operation, the humans ... objected"
That's also the understood premise of the "Star Trek" transporters, which use additional energy to then destroy the original after transport is complete. It would be less costly energy wise to keep both copies, but presumably there would be a population explosion of clones and the writers didn't want to deal with that. One "accident" creating two Rikers is already over the top right??? :) Then based on how the "Trek" transporters operate, how the !@#$ did they have transporter accidents every other episode?
The biggest issue is the computing power and energy required to transmit the quantum state data of an entire being and recreate it on the other side, which is nearly off the scale to start with. Not impossible, but it seems unlikely in our lifetimes. Maybe in the 2100's.
> The biggest issue is the computing power and energy required to transmit the quantum state data of an entire being ...
Do what video compression does, just transmit the differences from the last frame[last human transported in this case].
Or assume each teleportation receiver is manufactured with 'fundamental human state' embedded. Then you just need to transmit the equivalent of 'admiraljkb.css'. And hope the receiver wasn't manufactured by MS.
I figured that teleportation would work by destroying a single cell/atom at a time to determine its quantum state. Then that state information gets transferred to the destination bit-by-bit, this would make it easy to actually determine the state of each piece as well as do away with the clone issue.
You assume quantum reproduction is needed to transport life. Is there any evidence that this is required? Classical duplication may not preserve spin and such, but it should still do the job.
The 'clone issue' in star trek was only handwaved as a technological limitation - and on multiple occasions accidents with the transporters were able to create duplicates, so the capability was there. Just that no-one ever thought to try doing it deliberately, because the writers didn't like the idea.
If someone had, it would have been so highly abusable. The hard part is manipulating someone into saying 'You and what army?' the moment before you reveal the ten trillion yous storming the planet.
I've always wonder on Star Trek why they even bothered to transport down to the surface anyway? Why not build a remote-android duplicate to go down in their place? It'd be controlled from within an induced dream state and when the crew member is woken up, the remote droid dissolves or vaporizes itself. That way if either the mission ends or something bad happens, the crew member just wakes up thinking "Damn that was a weird dream. I was on this planet..."
No more risk going down to the planet, no clone issues, no more transporter malfunctions, and best of all, no more child support payments for all of Kirk's bastards.
Does anyone have a link to some more in depth info about what NASA are doing? I've googled about and can't find anything. I'd like, because I'm interested in the reliability of NAND Flash, to know what they are actually doing. Are they just throwing away the 'seventh bank' i.e. shortening the partition size, or is something more sophisticated happening? Enquiring minds want to know.
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