The latest news from the Solar System. In this issue:
- from our Earth correspondent – New WEAK weapons
- from our Mars correspondent – Debates on built in safety of industrial robots resumed after near-lethal incident at Barsoom University
- from our Luna correspondent – The fate of Luna
A newly sprung up weapon manufacturer has just released their new weapon system. “Weapons of Earth of the Accurate Kind, as the company is called, is an earth based subsidiary of the large weapon manufacturer “New and Efficient Reserved Firearms”, stationed on Mars.
The new company has developed an alternative ammo type, which, much like the ammo currently used by almost all law enforcement agencies, is mostly safe to use aboard spaceships and relatively fragile equipment. A low velocity is what this new ammo type has in common, but its different aerodynamic properties assure a more stable flight, and make the weapons more accurate overall.
The increased drag that this spherical ammo has, does mean the weapon is more prone to doing damage to its environment, when fired at this environment from a short distance. It is recommended to keep at least a few meters’ distance between the firearms user and any sensitive equipment when firing, especially if this equipment may be in the line of fire.
Many defense contractors have already tried to get their hands on the new weapon technology, but so far, only a lucky few companies from Earth have been able to get their hands on this new weapon platform.
An insider source of Weapons of Earth of the Accurate Kind has let us know that the company is actively trying to limit who can get their hands on these new weapons. There seem to be several reasons for this. For starters, many defense contractors may not have the finances to legally purchase these new weapon systems, and may have experience in getting new technology in alternative ways. Secondly, there may be political pressure from the Earth representatives to limit the spread of this weapon, making sure that earth has a say in who has the latest in personal firearms.
The new firearm range goes by the name of RIVAL, an acronym for “Really Impressive Victorious Armaments, Logically”. It may be some time before these weapons can be purchased, but you may already see some lucky individuals carrying them around.
A near-lethal accident during a robotics practicum at Barsoom University has sparked new debates on built in safety standards for industrial robot.
During the practicum, students were to demonstrate what they had learned during the course Industrial Robotics by controlling a RAM-DT6-904 industrial robot arm. One students started his control sequence in the singular configuration the previous student ended with, causing inverse kinematics in the control algorithm to return extremely high velocities.
Professor Pierre de Vaucanson, one of the leading experts in the field of robotics, was injured when the robot arm collided with his head. Luckily for Professor de Vaucanson, this happened at the same moment speed limiters kicked in to stop the motion. Had this happened a moment later, the professor would not have survived.
Professor de Vaucanson has been hospitalized at Barsoom Central Main Hospital with a medium to heavy concussion, but is expected to make a full recovery within a year.
An investigation as to why the professor was within the working area of the robot and if the incident was premeditated or accidental is ongoing. Nevertheless, activists are already using the incident to restart debates on improving safety procedures for industrial robots.
Jane Gass, spokeswoman for Safer Robots in Industry, states that the professor’s injury could have been prevented if bio-proximity sensors had been applied on, or integrated in the robot.
“These days bio-proximity sensors are so advanced, light and energy efficient that they can be applied on these heavy industrial robots without drawbacks. The only difference it will make is that algorithms can be implemented to reduce speed or increase compliance when the robot comes dangerously close to a human, preventing injury and death.
The technology where humans interact with small robots for medical, service and household purposes already make extensive use of these bio-proximity sensors. It is time that this technology is also applied in heavy industry. The technology is ready. The only question is if the lives and well-being of people working next to these dangerous robots are important enough. And let’s be fair, that should not really be a question, should it?”
The SevCol ban on jump-gate use for Lunar ships has been in place for six weeks now, and the subsequent stop of all export from Lunar space has already lasted one month. The SevCol ban has vastly increased prices of all transport to- and from Luna, mainly affecting the colony itself. However, due to the stop of all export issued by Tony Branson in reaction, many specialized products and components manufactured on Luna have drastically increased in price, affecting consumer prices throughout the galaxy, and undoubtedly offsetting some of the losses suffered by the Luna colony.
One week ago SCNN received rumors about negotiations of Luna with one of the colonies of the Alpha Centauri system. No news has been released so far, not from Luna nor from one of the Alpha Centauri colonies. If our source was indeed correct about this potential alliance, these negotiations could already be conducted somewhere in secret, maybe right at this very moment.
Therefore we would like a moment to speculate: What could happen if one of the extra-solar colonies could reach an agreement with Luna? A coalition will most likely influence political stability, but in which way can only be guessed at.
The most likely candidate for negotiations is either the colony of Kordoss or Lucis, since Eden does not hold much available valuable resources and Lux is rather politically secluded. While Kordoss has a lot of valuable materials which could prove useful in Lunar manufacturing, many of these can be found in the solar system as well, and the political power on Kordoss lies in the hands of the big corporations from the Solar system. Lucis has a great tradition in genetic engineering, and laboratories which can be counted among the most advanced in human society. Due to the cutting edge research at Lucis, genetically modified products are the main export of the Alpha Centauri system to the Solar system. Therefore, Lucis seems to be the most likely candidate for an alliance with Luna.
An alliance between Luna and any other colony would most likely prolong this precarious situation. What could the people of the Luna colony possibly do to atone themselves in the eyes of SevCol? Current affairs seem to only aggravate matters, not resolve them, while SevCol seems to be disengaged from these political developments.