May 28, 2010 weblog
Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020
(PhysOrg.com) -- Believing that a moon base is essential for exploration of the solar system, Japan has recently announced plans to send humanoid robots to the moon to construct a robot lunar base. As part of the $2.2 billion project, the robots will begin surveying the moon around 2015, and then build the unmanned base near the moon’s South Pole by 2020.
A Japanese government panel chaired by Katsuhiko Shirai, President of Waseda University, has developed a rough outline of the project. First, the robots, weighing about 660 pounds each, will begin by surveying the moon, taking images of the surface, collecting rocks, and returning the rocks to Earth via rocket for seismographic research. Later, robots will be sent to the moon to construct the lunar base for themselves.
According to the government panel, the robots and the unmanned moon base will be powered by solar panels. The robots will be controlled from Earth, but will also have a high degree of autonomy that enables them to operate on their own to perform certain tasks. Ultimately, the base could serve as a starting point for future robot colonizers, and even human colonizers.
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