April 22, 2004

When is 'nano' not nanotechnology? #1


A report in the Peoples Daily gets the wrong end of the rather greasy stick when it comes to defining 'nano' by assuming that nano satellites are based on nanotechnology. They have a point of you take the viewpoint that some companies are pushing, that all microelectronics and chemistry is in fact nanotechnology and therefore eligible for a slice of the ever expanding nanotechnology budgets, but thatís not what nanotechnology satellites are all about.

Nano comes from the Greek word nanos, meaning dwarf, whereas a nanometer is a unit of length Ė an important distinction and it is wrong to automatically assume that nano=nanotechnology, and that the use of nano in other contexts is wrong. It isnít. It's just confusing.

So a nano satellite is merely a small one, weighing a few tens kilos compared to the ten tons of the Hubble Space Telescope. With launch costs of around sixty thousand dollars per kilo, nanosatellites are becoming increasingly attractive. One day they may even contain some nanotechnology.

Posted by Cientifica at April 22, 2004 07:14 AM | TrackBack

Just wanted to note that a generally accepted definition of a nano satellite is one weighing 10 kg or less.

Posted by: Steven Savage at May 4, 2004 12:55 PM
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