Conquering the Moon with Moon Robots
I think we all know by now that the moon’s a terrible place to live. There’s no atmosphere, it’s cold and it’s 300,000 miles away from all civilization and support. So in order to do something with it to make it habitable for a permanent human presence, is going to be a huge challenge, and full of logistical problems. For example, how do we get materials up there? Where to engineers and astronauts live while they’re building infrastructure. I seems like we’re decades away from being ready to even think about it. Lucky for us, however, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has an idea to get the moon under our command; Robots.
According to NASA, the scope of the Japanese agency’s plan is insane. They want to send an army of 600-lb humanoid rover robots to the moon, to survey and begin to build an unmanned base near the south pole of the moon, powered by solar panels and constructed with 3-D printers taking materials right from the moon itself. The hope was to have this portion completed by 2020, but they’ve yet to launch the first set of robots into space.
That’s only Phase One. Phase Two is a little more batshit crazy. The Shimizu Corporation, the company that is building the robots, is hoping that by 2030 they can task their robots to build a ring of solar panels around the equator of the moon, once the base is complete. The LUNA RING, as they’re calling it, will collect and beam solar energy back to earth, so that we can stop using fossil fuels. The whole process is actually pretty ingenious, as all the materials they’ll need, can be extracted from the lunar soil including ceramics, glass, oxygen, concrete, solar cells and water. You can check out the scope of the plan on their website.
Come to think of it, it might actually work. Wonder what Phase Three will look like?