Getting close to 50 rants, and I still haven't done much.
I downloaded freeCAD and a project management software from sourceforge. I got a little bit stuck with studies but that's just me being lazy. I still watched all the lectures, but haven't got down to working on further assignments yet. :)
I just wanted to look at software out there check out their designs and capabilities, it hopefully will help clear up my mind about the design of "freespaceships".
First project I am planning to kill some time in is a robotic explorer of Earth. :) I would love to have a UAV of my design check out the Antarctic so I think I might go in that direction. I have always been interested in flight, I love uavs, I love planets, and the closest one I could explore more is this one right under me. :)
Though that realisation came to me during a Life /the crime drama series/ inspired zen moment. I love space related stuff and I want to go up there to explore other planets and solar systems and such. But really I am already in space, on one of the planets that are in space. :) So in a sense I don't need a spaceship or tons of technology to explore space. I am just limited to this planet and my close surroundings for now. With my limited budget I could do some activities in this field as a hobby while I am trying to develop and/or become part of the "open source space programs" movement.
At any rate I started thinking about and looking up UAVs and trying to figure out a way I could cheaply make and deploy one that can go to the Arctic or the Antarctic and snap some photos. Maybe later on return samples, or do continuous exploration and sampling for longer periods of time.
The key similarities between a project to send hardware to the arctic with sending hardware to the moon or other planets, that makes it a good stepping stone for noobs like me:
-Still pretty harsh environment. The problem isn't trivial.
-Large distance. Though not as quite as large as distance between planets, but large enough to make remote operation a hassle.
-Exoticness. It's a place very few man has gone before. :) And I don't know about hobby level robotic explorers but I think it's a field still quite pristine.
So this is what I have on my mind at the moment. I am thinking of balloons, blimps, winged aircraft, boats, rovers, and various hybrids of them all. I am thinking of various capabilities, like withstanding strong winds, frost, low temperatures, changing modes between floating and flying, or flying and rolling/roving. I am thinking of autonomy and teleoperation, communication, energy source, costs, design procedures, construction etc...
I am thinking of how to taylor the project so that noobs like myself could carry it out with some time, money, and smart ideas. :)
So yeah, that's what's going on at the moment.
There is also another interesting development in my industry. They are about to test remote controlled aircraft for aerial spraying of weeds. I have been ranting to my coworkers about robotics and how awesome it would be to have drones do some of our work, and they are already trying to make use of remote controlled vehicles. The next step is semy or fully autonomous drones and I am out of a job. :) This is one of the incentives for me to get my act together and get some engineering done. The world is changing and those who don't change with it are left behind.
I am so excited about the future prospects of UAVs I can't wait to build one. :)