Let's face it -- we owe a great deal of gratitude to the robots that get up each and every morning to explore far reaches of the universe that we humans are just incapable of landing on. But there's still the problem of we humans having to tell these things what to do from our humble laboratories here on Earth. The brilliantly named Wolfgang Fink, a physicist and senior researcher at the California Institute of Technology, has plans to remedy said quandary by creating autonomous spacecrafts "that will be able to analyze data about points of interest as it passes and then make quick decisions about what needs to be investigated." In essence, he's looking to remove the Earthlings from the equation, which would enable smart robots to explore on their own and possibly discover new pools of purified water, REEM-B's long lost siblings or the real most innovative NES-in-a-whatever mod. 2020 folks, mark it down.

[Image courtesy of NASA]

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Intelligent space robots to dig around, throw raves on their own by 2020