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Japan plans to have a humanoid land on the moon before other robots or an astronaut

A Japanese government research group unveiled plans for the country to have a two-legged humanoid robot explore the moon's surface by 2020, paving the way for other ambitious space missions.

The Japan Strategic Headquarters for Space Development announced the plans during a meeting with the media recently, ending some speculation regarding Japan's space ambitions.  The group is responsible for outlining where Japan will go with its future space projects, and must receive public approval for projects.  The Cabinet-level working group offered several recommendations on the future of the Japanese space program, especially regarding the moon.

The Strategic Headquarters was established by the Japanese government last year with the aim to better develop Japanese space technology.  The country also will be able to use recently passed laws to allow it to use space technology for military defense and space-related military endeavors.

Aside from a humanoid on the surface of the moon, the group also believes other robots and a JAXA astronaut may be able to roam the moon's surface at some point shortly after the humanoid.  Exact details of the humanoid on the moon will be finalized over the next couple of years, including the size of the project's budget, which currently hasn't been determined.

The group also believes it'd be a good idea for Japan to invest more research into military satellites, as the threat of possible missile attacks from either North Korea or China grows.  Furthermore, the satellites could also be used to track natural disasters.

The U.S., China, Russia and India also have plans for missions to the moon by 2025.  It's likely China will be the first country to get back to the moon, with several U.S. space officials even admitting that the growing Chinese space program has the technological and monetary funds necessary to create another lunar spacecraft.

China plans to put astronauts on the moon around the same time as the United States and Japan, but hasn't outlined specific plans on its moon ambitions yet.

Specifically in Asia, Japan is engaged in an Asian space race with China and India, with each nation making important strides in space research.  Japan is the well-established space program, but just recently got its space program back on track.



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Why 2 legged
By tmouse on 4/6/2009 9:05:12 AM , Rating: 2
Why a two legged robot? I guess because it has not been done before. More flash than substance. Maybe Sony's helping with the funding or maybe their working on a giant Gundam.




RE: Why 2 legged
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/6/2009 9:27:29 AM , Rating: 2
I don't quite understand it either. We've already had humans land/walk on the moon, so there's not really a need for a bipedal robot -- it would offer no real advantage.


RE: Why 2 legged
By nosfe on 4/6/2009 9:33:35 AM , Rating: 3
what are you talking about? this will be the first gundam to reach space, it's a monumental achievement


RE: Why 2 legged
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/6/2009 9:37:52 AM , Rating: 2
I actually had to do a Google search to figure out what the heck you were talking about :)


RE: Why 2 legged
By Samus on 4/7/2009 4:34:18 AM , Rating: 2
I'm shocked Brandon, I had always thought of you as an Otaku of sorts... now go look THAT one up ;)


RE: Why 2 legged
By StevoLincolnite on 4/6/2009 10:03:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
what are you talking about? this will be the first gundam to reach space, it's a monumental achievement


Next... World Domination! Mwuahahaha! *cough* *cough*

Also give me a Vandread over a Gundam any day!


RE: Why 2 legged
By chrnochime on 4/6/2009 1:59:52 PM , Rating: 2
Vandread?? Please, that's so yesterday. I want LineBarrel with mode B. D-Coil with self-healing LOL

That or Asura Machina(from Asura Cryin') :D


RE: Why 2 legged
By Murloc on 4/6/2009 12:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
japanese like that kind of robots, they will spend money on it just because it's cool even if useless.


RE: Why 2 legged
By msomeoneelsez on 4/6/2009 1:05:59 PM , Rating: 2
You must be American :D

Don't worry, everybody in a consumer driven economy does the same thing.


RE: Why 2 legged
By Moishe on 4/6/2009 9:39:18 AM , Rating: 2
Doesn't make sense.

What's great is that Japan has focus. They will get there because they will plan and then enact the plan.

The US has a lot but it needs focus and commitment. Considering how aggressive China is, it would be wise for another country to be on the moon at the same time as China. The US can't really afford to be left behind in this.


RE: Why 2 legged
By UNHchabo on 4/6/2009 12:29:22 PM , Rating: 3
Personally, I read "humanoid" in the headline, and I thought I'd missed the news about discovering a new humanoid species! ;)


RE: Why 2 legged
By geddarkstorm on 4/6/2009 3:58:07 PM , Rating: 2
Space Chimps!


Why 51 years after US did it?
By Lord 666 on 4/6/2009 9:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
Have always wondered why if the United States (the country I am proud to be from and live in) did it in 1969, why other countries have set timelines for mid/later next decade?

Do not buy the arguments that once its done, its not interesting or increase of safety requirements.

Not a conspiracy nut or implying a rouse at all, but dates set so far in advance remind me of the JFK files being sealed until 2025... after certain living people pass away.




RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By mofo3k on 4/6/2009 10:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
<conspiracy theory>Maybe because the US faked the landing, and it's really really difficult for other nations to actually do. </conspiracy theory>

It's probably because the costs have gone up substantially to undertake this project and they aren't investing quite as much as we did back then, comparatively. Plus, no one wants to see an Apollo 1 incident again.


RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By Hoeser on 4/6/2009 11:36:06 AM , Rating: 4
Yep. Must be fake. I mean, just look:

http://cdn-www.cracked.com/articleimages/dan/1-22-...


RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By omnicronx on 4/6/2009 12:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
Because at the time it was considered ok to send men to the moon in little more than a tin can, receiving more radiation in a few days than a normal human receives all year.

Astronauts of the time took some great risks, if I recall correctly Nixon ordered that they have a tape ready for the first moonwalk in case they failed.(The odds of the time were not as good as one would think)

And don't get me started on the Soviets, nobody will ever know how many cosmonauts lost their lives in the race to the moon.

Today something like this would be unacceptable, especially with the vast amounts of money invested in the technology.


RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By 91TTZ on 4/6/2009 3:22:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Because at the time it was considered ok to send men to the moon in little more than a tin can, receiving more radiation in a few days than a normal human receives all year.


That hasn't changed. The radiation exposure on spacecraft back then was about as high as it is now. Astronauts are classified as radiation workers due to the radiation exposure they receive.

Airline workers are at more of a risk because they are subjected to more radiation. Although the exposure is much less per flight, airline crews usually fly every day as part of their job unlike astronauts who don't go in space very often.


RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By omnicronx on 4/6/2009 4:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
That hasn't changed. The radiation exposure on spacecraft back then was about as high as it is now. Astronauts are classified as radiation workers due to the radiation exposure they receive.
This is quite a bold statement to make, considering we have not travelled through the Van Allen radiation belt, nor have we left the upper atmosphere since Apollo . Both the ISS and the shuttle stay in low orbit, they receive a fraction of the amount of radiation the Apollo astronauts received going to the moon, let alone standing on the moon in little more than a space suit.

Furthermore, you are perfectly correct in saying 'That hasn't changed' which is the point of my post, the goal back then was to get to the moon at all costs, there was a much larger chance of not coming back, i.e Safety is a big reason that the US or any other country has not gone (or gone back) to the moon.

This being said, we are much more advanced when it comes to radiation protection than we were 40 years ago. Even the ISS which stays in low orbit has a special room for astronauts to sit hide during increases solar activity such as solar flares.


RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 4/7/2009 7:51:14 AM , Rating: 2
And of course, since only robots are going, the radiation issue is moot.


By MadMan007 on 4/7/2009 7:57:59 AM , Rating: 2
Until they mutate in to sooperbots and come back and kill us all :(


RE: Why 51 years after US did it?
By TOAOCyrus on 4/6/2009 1:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
Um because despite advances developing new spacecraft takse just as long or longer as it did in the 60's.


By omnicronx on 4/6/2009 1:18:15 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that the US reached the moon in only 9 years, Even with today's technology Japan is aiming for 11 years from today's date, so it will be at least double the time it took for the Apollo missions as Jaxa started the project in the early-mid 2000's.

Safety is the main reason any mission by any country (including the US) will take years longer than it did in the 60's.


By geddarkstorm on 4/6/2009 4:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
Hate to break it to ya, but the moon IS boring/uninteresting/etc. from any practical standpoint, until lately, maybe. There's no way to effectively (and profitably) mine the moon or set up a base, even now, so why go? The only reason everyone is suddenly interested in it is mostly because new players have come onto the space scene (China, India, Japan), and want to meet the benchmark we set way back when (and before they could even dream of trying the same), and we have also become increasingly interested in Mars, which a base on the moon could make it a easier to get to.

Back in the 60's, only Russia and the US had the power, know how, and resources to spend on such an endeavor as getting to the moon, that has finally now changed; but it took a long time for those other countries to catch up (also, Japan isn't in any race to get there first, there's no pressure of expedience as the US had when racing with Russia -- Japan can take its sweet time whereas the US couldn't back in the 60s). Also, astronauts now probably cost a heck of a lot more than they did back in the 60s, just as with soldiers. Most such things are more expensive and complex in this era than they were.

This is still great progress in my eyes, the colonization of space has endless benefits and potentials. However, so many problems here on our own planet still greatly hampers our ability and will to adventure beyond.


Edit
By curryj02 on 4/6/2009 9:01:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Furthermore, the satellites could also be used to track natural disasters, and


... and what?




RE: Edit
By tmouse on 4/6/2009 9:08:16 AM , Rating: 3
The arrival or tentacle monsters from space.....


RE: Edit
By rdeegvainl on 4/6/2009 9:09:03 AM , Rating: 2
???
PROFIT


RE: Edit
By strife1012 on 4/6/2009 9:29:01 AM , Rating: 2
Godzilla


RE: Edit
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/6/2009 9:32:13 AM , Rating: 2
Mothra > Godzilla


RE: Edit
By Spivonious on 4/6/2009 10:06:13 AM , Rating: 2
Monster Zero > Mothra > Godzilla


RE: Edit
By phu5ion on 4/6/2009 11:57:15 AM , Rating: 3
Chuck Norris > Monster Zero > Mothra > Godzilla


RE: Edit
By msomeoneelsez on 4/6/2009 1:07:37 PM , Rating: 4
Jack Bauer > Chuck Norris > Monster Zero > Mothra > Godzilla


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