Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

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The Reaper
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Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby The Reaper » Fri May 28, 2010 8:03 pm UTC

http://www.physorg.com/news194274570.html
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.
Also: http://www.universetoday.com/2010/05/27 ... e-by-2020/

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby frezik » Fri May 28, 2010 8:10 pm UTC

Japan has recently announced plans to send humanoid robots to the moon to construct a robot lunar base.


So, despite a bipedal design being both difficult and unnecessary for the task, Japan is doing it anyway. A quadruped or hexapod is easier to balance and would get better traction. Or just go with wheeled/tank tread designs and forget the legs.

I can only assume that they just want to make Gundam a reality. Sydney might want to watch out.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby The Reaper » Fri May 28, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

frezik wrote:
Japan has recently announced plans to send humanoid robots to the moon to construct a robot lunar base.


So, despite a bipedal design being both difficult and unnecessary for the task, Japan is doing it anyway. A quadruped or hexapod is easier to balance and would get better traction. Or just go with wheeled/tank tread designs and forget the legs.

I can only assume that they just want to make Gundam a reality. Sydney might want to watch out.

In the second link, its wall-e robots, without the compactor.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby frezik » Fri May 28, 2010 8:28 pm UTC

Fine then. I guess I just want Gundam to be a reality.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby erk070 » Fri May 28, 2010 8:44 pm UTC

It's only a small step toward

Image

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 28, 2010 9:05 pm UTC

erk070 wrote:It's only a small step toward

Image


Excellent...

I never understood why Gundam need legs. Their whole point is that they can fly, isn't it? Can anyone think of a scene where a Gundam with cut-off legs would have performed any worse?

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Princess Marzipan » Fri May 28, 2010 9:11 pm UTC

Lack of legs would have a negative impact on maneuverability during ground combat.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 28, 2010 9:14 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:Lack of legs would have a negative impact on maneuverability during ground combat.

But the ground combat units are clearly the cannon fodder

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Kuji » Fri May 28, 2010 9:19 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I never understood why Gundam need legs. Their whole point is that they can fly, isn't it? Can anyone think of a scene where a Gundam with cut-off legs would have performed any worse?


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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Glass Fractal » Fri May 28, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:http://www.physorg.com/news194274570.html
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.
Also: http://www.universetoday.com/2010/05/27 ... e-by-2020/


They think they can do this for 2 billion dollars? That seems incredibly cheap to me.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Ivora » Fri May 28, 2010 10:08 pm UTC

Go Japan Go! :D

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Saurus33 » Sat May 29, 2010 12:16 am UTC

Glass Fractal wrote:
They think they can do this for 2 billion dollars? That seems incredibly cheap to me.


Maybe they're talking actual billions, and not milliards.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Izawwlgood » Sat May 29, 2010 12:25 am UTC

America is so going to be left in the dust.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Mot » Sat May 29, 2010 12:52 am UTC

Saurus33 wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:
They think they can do this for 2 billion dollars? That seems incredibly cheap to me.


Maybe they're talking actual long scale billions, and not milliards short scale billions.


FTFY :)
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Glass Fractal » Sat May 29, 2010 1:03 am UTC

Saurus33 wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:
They think they can do this for 2 billion dollars? That seems incredibly cheap to me.


Maybe they're talking actual billions, and not milliards.


Ah yes short scale vs long scale. That makes a lot more sense.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Glmclain » Sat May 29, 2010 2:06 am UTC

Well hey, if anyone can do it it's Japan. I mean seriously, is there anything they don't have!? (besides a population due to their insanely high suicide rate?)
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Kayangelus » Sat May 29, 2010 2:07 am UTC

Saurus33 wrote:
Glass Fractal wrote:
They think they can do this for 2 billion dollars? That seems incredibly cheap to me.


Maybe they're talking actual billions, and not milliards.


Personally I think that would be a far too expensive project for this. I'm guessing that they probably meant something like $2.2B per year, possibly as the minimum estimate, and the per year got dropped somewhere along the way in between this being reported, and someone writing it up as a newspaper article.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby frezik » Sat May 29, 2010 2:07 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:I never understood why Gundam need legs. Their whole point is that they can fly, isn't it? Can anyone think of a scene where a Gundam with cut-off legs would have performed any worse?


Official reason is that the appendages are used to spin the machine around while flying without using any fuel, much the way gyros are used on real satellites for attitude control.

Of course, this is a hand-wavy excuse for having giant robots fighting each other. Nor are they ever animated with hands and legs flailing around while making maneuvers. But who said we ever need a good excuse for watching giant robots fight each other?
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Decker » Sat May 29, 2010 11:02 pm UTC

As cool as this sounds, I'm going to have to call bullshit. I've heard things like this, time and time again, about how we're supposed to have flying cars by some year and quantum computing by some other year. Ten years ago we we're supposed to have manned flights to mars by now. I just don't think it's going to happen. There's too many things to go wrong and too many opportunities for politicians to stomp down the project for being to expensive or impractical or whatever.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Sockmonkey » Sat May 29, 2010 11:06 pm UTC

Isn't a moon base worthless unless it's manned and self-sustaining?

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Soralin » Sun May 30, 2010 12:06 am UTC

Kayangelus wrote:Personally I think that would be a far too expensive project for this. I'm guessing that they probably meant something like $2.2B per year, possibly as the minimum estimate, and the per year got dropped somewhere along the way in between this being reported, and someone writing it up as a newspaper article.

It doesn't have to be that expensive, I mean, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Pathfinder could be considered as a robot base on mars, even though it was only a base to the single robot Sojourner, and that was done for about 1/10th of that amount, total. There's not really a lot that's required for something to be called a robot base.

And it's not a bad idea when you get down to it. I mean, think of it like this, Instead of building a single big heavy rover that's essentially a mobile laboratory, why not split it up into two different things: One of them being a stationary base, which has the scientific equipment, especially any of it which is large, heavy, or power hungry, high power communications, solar panel array or other power generation, etc. And then for the other, you can make light barebones rovers, with cameras, batteries, sample collection equipment, etc. That can bring things back to the base rather than lugging all of that equipment around on a big rover everywhere. And once you have that, the rovers and the lab equipment are separate, you could drop a new set of scientific equipment to the base, and the same rovers could bring things back to it just as easily. If a rover gets lost or stuck, or outdated, you can send new ones, which could be relatively light and cheap, without having a bunch of other equipment lost with it.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Gears » Sun May 30, 2010 12:12 am UTC

A moon base named Selene?
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Sockmonkey » Sun May 30, 2010 6:51 am UTC

That could work allthough it's not really what I would define as a base.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby PhoenixEnigma » Sun May 30, 2010 8:06 pm UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:Isn't a moon base worthless unless it's manned and self-sustaining?

Depends on how you determine worth. An unmanned moon base has value in research and learning about prolonged operation on the lunar surface. It might have value as a stepping stone to a manned lunar base. It probably wouldn't have particular value in learning about prolonged human operations on the moon. It almost certainly has little value as a money producing venture.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Iv » Sun May 30, 2010 8:32 pm UTC

What is the definition of an unmanned robot base ? The picture gives the impression that they plan to land two small structures, deploy a solar panel, a japanese flag and a rover and call that a "base". By these standards, NASA has a base on Mars since the Viking probes. A "base" is a shelter with living facilities in an otherwise hostile environment. If you bring robots made for lunar exploration on the surface on the moon, the "base" they need is like the towel I lay on the ground when I go swim at the beach. That is really not the hard part.

It is a good PR move though, and a good start toward more autonomy. The Japanese space agency is the one who unveiled the discovery of uranium on the Moon. I would love them to use this to explore mining opportunities.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Technical Ben » Sun May 30, 2010 9:01 pm UTC

Time for us to lay a "towel" on the moon then. It would be extremely useful too.
So long as they don't plan on storing any nuclear waste there...
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Le1bn1z » Mon May 31, 2010 2:23 am UTC

So they plan to set up a base that no people can actually get to, that is self-sufficient, run by intelligent robots and has a bunch or rockets aimed at earth.

Is the project called SkyNet, by any chance?
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Omegaton » Mon May 31, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:Time for us to lay a "towel" on the moon then. It would be extremely useful too.

I totally thought of Hitchiker's Guide: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology ... axy#Towels

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Steax » Mon May 31, 2010 4:54 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:So they plan to set up a base that no people can actually get to, that is self-sufficient, run by intelligent robots and has a bunch or rockets aimed at earth.

Is the project called SkyNet, by any chance?


Not to mention the possibility of the base mining uranium.
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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Iv » Mon May 31, 2010 9:38 am UTC

Technical Ben wrote:So long as they don't plan on storing any nuclear waste there...
Why not ? That would be a good place to make a launchpad for Orion-type spacecrafts.
I, for one, hope that they plan on enriching uranium there.

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Re: Japan plans to build robot moon base by 2020

Postby Technical Ben » Mon May 31, 2010 3:44 pm UTC

Iv wrote:
Technical Ben wrote:So long as they don't plan on storing any nuclear waste there...
Why not ? That would be a good place to make a launchpad for Orion-type spacecrafts.
I, for one, hope that they plan on enriching uranium there.


Totally not going to happen. But my fault for trying to fit two jokes in one post...
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