Lawn mowing robots to inferfere with radio telescopes

by
in space on (#7B6P)
Astronomers are getting ready to do battle with the iRobot corporation over their new lawn mowing robots. The makers of the Roomba are working on a similar device used to mow lawns. Astronomers are concerned about potential interference with radio telescopes. In February, iRobot filed a waiver request with the FCC to use part of the radio spectrum to guide the robots. The company wants to use the frequency band between 6240 and 6740 MHz, which is a frequency that several large radio telescopes use to observe methanol, which is plentiful in stellar nurseries.

iRobot has proposed adding a note to the user manual: “consumer use only; use must be limited to residential areas.” The NRAO doesn’t think the approach will work. Liszt and the NRAO say that they need a 55-mile exclusion zone to protect the data obtained by the radio telescopes. It is possible that the radio telescopes could begin generating bad data, without knowing why and without necessarily knowing that the data is bad, if the product goes ahead as planned.

Re: What about goats? (Score: 1)

by kwerle@pipedot.org on 2015-04-20 03:11 (#7D2D)

A few questions:
* How big is a lawn that takes 6+ hours to mow?
* How many goats does that support?
* What kind of weather do you have that you can support goats on your property?
* Where do you live that that's allowed?
* What do you do about the plants you don't want the goats to eat (veggie bed, flowers, etc)?
* How much does it cost/goat (vet, whatever else goats need)?

I really would like to know!

I live in California, and I'm sure:
* My property is too small to support goats.
* There isn't enough water to keep enough grass for the goats to eat consistently.
* It'd be illegal where I live.
* They'd eat our young trees, veggies, flowers.
* etc etc

Robot mowers seem like a more likely solution. Nonetheless, I'd like to know how well the natural solution is working for you.
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