Archive for October 27th, 2008
X Factor for robots in Tenerife

It may not have a panel of smug showbiz celebrities, or a horrendously expensive premium rate phone vote, but up towards the peak of Mount Teide, 8 robots are auditioning for an out of this world gig – on the moon. The European Space Agency has challenged universities from 8 countries to build and send their best lunar exploration vehicle to prove itself on the rocky and cratered moon type landscape of Teide National Park.

Las Cañadas

Britain is represented by Surrey University, although somehow the phrase “Guildford, we have a problem” doesn’t have the same ring to it. All the contestants will get their chance to shine, maybe it’s best described as a cross between Robot Wars and Stars In Their Eyes, before the lucky winner gets a chance at a future space shot.

But what will they find once they go into space? With a great sense of timing, the Spanish Ministry of Defence has just de-classified a whole batch of flying saucer reports from past years. Known as OVNI’s (Objeto Volante No Identificado) these sightings are outlined in a 84 page report, including several over the Canary Islands.

One of the higher profile encounters was in November 1974 when several sightings took place in Gran Canaria, including one by an off duty Assistant Air Colonel, who claims it flew over his car at amazing speed. At the same time, a plane coming into Las Palmas also reported an object buzzing it, popping in and out of the clouds. Pio’s (Gran Canarians) do have naturally bad judgement, their football team is a prime example, but many other OVNI incidents have been spotted over the other islands, including Tenerife, so maybe we should get these robots up into space and let them sort it all out.