Monday, February 12, 2007

Lost And Found On Mars

NASA is evaluating the use of RFID Chips for a trip to Mars. Radio Frequency ID chips are increasingly being used as a way to monitor stock levels in warehousing, but the technology may find a new and vitally important home in space. Losing things in space is a notorious problem that has long plagued astronauts. Put down a screwdriver and the odds are it will float away, so if you can tag it so that it radiates a signal all the time, it could be a real time saver, perhaps even a life saver. For instance, according to, in 2003, the International Space crew were missing "over 100 items listed in the IMS (inventory management system.) " This included critical equipment such as filter cartridges, and spares designed to support station systems operation. On a trip to Mars, losing things becomes even more critical, as there will simply be no way of getting replacements to the astronauts. The first stage in testing the durability of RFID chips will be to store a selection in a box on the outer skin of the Space Station. Further tests will then be conducted on a long range mission to the moon.