Prepare to be blown away. The absolute coolness of the video below, if we were using Top Gear’s “Cool Wall,” would put it beyond “Sub-Zero” to “Absolute Zero.”
The video doesn’t really say anything about satellites, so you might be wondering, “Why is this video on this blog?” Here’s my answer: what you’re seeing is possibly the future for satellite repair and maintenance. These miniature robots are very specialized, very small, probably relatively cheap, and very light. Such characteristics would make them appropriate companions to satellites.
They could “live” in a compartment, or some other protected area, and come out only to conduct maintenance or other activities. These tiny robots might be a better option than sending out a repair satellite. And because they’re using magnets to move around, there’s probably very little chance of them flinging off of a satellite. Indeed, they might still be able to conduct critical functions during emergency maneuvers. In essence, “self-repairing” satellites might become possible.
For long-term future guesses about this technology, orbital manufacturing facilities above the Earth might become a reality. These robots (and the surfaces required) could easily be transported into space. Barring a “Skynet” event, or just a general robot uprising demanding wage parity, the little robots would be working in a naturally sterile environment, which is ideal for some manufacturing.
Of course, this is just throwing the idea-noodles at the wall. But it’s fun to do that–and these little robots are just quite cool!