January 23, 2013
This is a cool video by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on project Phoenix--which is a robot that can repair satellites in space and re-use components from retired satellites around it.
Phoenix can intercept, scavenge, and rebuild satellites in space--while orbiting above the Earth at 22,000 miles!
In the corner of the video, you can see progress being made in the lab, and in the main video frame you can see an animated version of how this would actually be put to use.
Machines working on, building, and repairing machines!
Like the fulfillment of a Terminator-like society, where machines can function with autonomy, eventually learning, self-healing, and even propagating.
I would imagine that these machines can help not only repurpose and recycle material in space to good use and fix things, but also they can clean up the space junk in orbit--similar to street sweeper trucks in Manhattan!
Eventually, these robots will travel to distance worlds--first Mars--to build human colonies and maintain them in inhospitable environments.
In mythology, Phoenix is a bird that regenerates and is reborn--in this case, this may be the beginning of the rebirth of human civilization throughout the galaxy. ;-)