Reddit Identifies Mysterious Machine Part That Gives Them A Lot To Think About

With each passing day, there are a new group of confused individuals who come to Reddit's r/whatisthisthing community in the hopes of identifying a strange object they've come across.

But while the community is famous for their uncanny accuracy and efficiency and telling people what they've found, it's also pretty remarkable that there never seems to be a slow day around there.

In a way, it's kind of comforting to know that every day, new people are exploring, making discoveries, and letting their curiosity about what they've discovered guide them.

And while today's story sees the community come through as usual, the process of doing so left them with some unexpected realizations.

When one student came to Reddit with this mysterious piece, it was hard to blame them for being confused about it.

As they said, they found it in their school's mechatronics lab.

Between the numbers and the jagged wheel in the center, there's definitely a lot about this that inspires curiosity.

Fortunately, those who responded to this post weren't forced to make a complete shot in the dark here.

Because while the user didn't know the function of what they found, they did know that it's a part of a missile and provided another picture showing where it's supposed to fit on one.

With that in mind, it's hard not to be a little curious about how it ended up at the uploader's school in the first place.

And the answer was apparently that while their teacher was at an Air Force base, he was able to get his hands on it.

However, it seems he wasn't any more confident in his knowledge of its purpose than his student was.

Fortunately, several Reddit users were able to provide multiple explanations before the day was out.

One solved the mystery by identifying it as a rolleron.

The toothed wheel we can see in this part spins as the missile soars through the air and when each of the rollerons attached to a missile do this, it creates a gyroscopic effect that help stabilize the missile and keep it on course.

Once this was known, another user was able to give a more detailed explanation for why missiles are designed the way they are.

As they explained, Sidewinder missiles like the one pictured here have front fins that are connected to the missile's guidance system and are adjusted according to its commands.

Meanwhile, the rear fins we see in this shot stay fixed in position while the rolleron wheels stabilize the missile. There's also a locking tab in place that keeps them from moving until the missile is actually launched.

Another user couldn't help but be amazed by the sophisticated engineering that goes into one of these, but also came to a sad realization as a result.

As they put it, "So.. Air-spun gyroscopes passively controlling trim tabs on the fins. That's as cool as hell.

I always find it sad that the world and business of killing people and destroying infrastructure has some of the neatest bits of engineering in it.

Oh well... back to the food machinery..."

By a strange coincidence, another user who engineers food packaging machinery recalled having a similar conversation about their work before the uploader's post even existed.

They said they had previously expressed that they didn't feel their work was particularly glamorous, which prompted someone to say, "Better than designing weapons that kill people."

In this user's words, "I ensure food is safely packaged in a way that makes it last longer and can be delivered in a way that makes it available for people who'd usually be unable to benefit from it. I make a positive change in the world. And so do you."

As is usual on r/whatisthisthing, the uploader's thread was closed after it was clear that their mystery had been solved but these final thoughts left the community with something sobering to think about.

h/t: Reddit | Dr-Havoc137

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