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The first wave of Japanese lunar robots will land in 2015.  (Source: NODE/JAXA)

They will be followed by a full-fledged base in 2020, which may one day host human guests.  (Source: NODE/JAXA)
U.S. will have to sit this one out

Even as the U.S. begrudgingly watches it own 21st century Moon-landing aspirations fade into the sunset, other nations are more than happy to pick up the slack.  We've already covered China and India's lunar ambitions extensively.

Now another Asian superpower is thirsting for the resources buried on Earth's largest natural satellite.  According to a report in Japanese publication 
NODE, JAXA, Japan's space program, is looking to pour $2.2B USD into plans to put an army of robots (peaceful robots, of course) on the Moon.

Japan, always on the cutting edge of technology, has come up with all sorts of creative and outlandish uses for robots.  But its lunarbots may just steal show.  

JAXA plans on landing humanoid robots on the moon by 2015.  After receiving the official backing of the Japanese Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama, the mission timeline has been expanded to include plans for a full fledged robot space-base by 2020.

The robot invasion will start when 660-pound robots with treads land in 2015.  These WALL-E-esque robots will come equipped with solar panels, seismographs, high-def cameras, and loads of sensors.  These robots will also come with human-like arms to collect lunar rocks, which they will deposit in a rocket that will launch on a return flight to Earth.

The first wave of robots will be Earth-controlled, but will be semi-autonomous.  They will pave the way for a full-fledged robot colonization, highlighted by the construction of a lunar base near the Moon's south pole.  The solar powered base will prove an ideal resource harvesting depot and landing spot for future robots.  It may even host human guests in the near future.  The base will be populated by self-repairing, multitasking, pseudo-intelligent androids.

Given the wealth of technology the U.S.'s human Moon program yielded, it's almost certain that the Japanese program will offer some interesting developments, even if it fails to meet its incredibly ambitious goals.



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their first transmission will be..
By cokbun on 6/1/2010 7:54:38 AM , Rating: 5
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US




RE: their first transmission will be..
By retrospooty on 6/1/2010 8:17:16 AM , Rating: 2
DOH!

that is so 3 years ago. Although, in this case it actually fits. =)


RE: their first transmission will be..
By invidious on 6/1/2010 8:33:23 AM , Rating: 2
3 years? More like 10 years ago.

Take off every zig!


RE: their first transmission will be..
By BarkHumbug on 6/1/2010 10:05:31 AM , Rating: 2
By theslug on 6/1/2010 11:05:37 AM , Rating: 2
The meme only started gaining popularity ten years ago.


By MrBlastman on 6/1/2010 8:47:52 AM , Rating: 4
And our reply will be:

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto. ;)


By WoWCow on 6/1/2010 12:14:36 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe, but their information and processing power would have to be linked, shared, and a consensus built.

Then that is when they begin to question their existence and of souls as one incredibly large gestalt personality. Of which then their goal is to build a Dyson sphere using the moon to store all their information, history, and consensus.

Ah, but yes the robots are 10 years away and the incredible robot AI revolution another 50~100 years from now.


By dj LiTh on 6/1/2010 11:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
luckily for the moon Yukio Hatoyama just resigned. I wonder how this will effect the program.


Curious assertion...
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 6/1/2010 7:36:06 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Now another Asian superpower is thirsting for the resources buried on Earth's largest natural satellite.

Does the Earth have more than one natural satellite? Using the superlative this way asserts that there more than two (otherwise you would use the comparative "larger.") Did I miss something in my Astronomy classes? (seriously, I am not trying to be a putz.)




RE: Curious assertion...
By unsprung on 6/1/2010 7:46:23 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Did I miss something in my Astronomy classes? (seriously, I am not trying to be a putz.)


What, you mean you don't know about Earth's other moons, Dobos and Pheimos?


RE: Curious assertion...
By SmilingMan on 6/1/2010 8:13:31 AM , Rating: 1
Actually, yes. There are a number of smaller natural satellites orbiting us, though only Luna (the Moon) has been defined as large enough to be defined as an actual moon.
The largest is Cruithne, which is in orbit with us, but not necessarily around us - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3753_Cruithne


RE: Curious assertion...
By SandmanWN on 6/1/2010 9:43:41 AM , Rating: 5
Uhm, No. Its an asteroid and it orbits the Sun, not the Earth. It only happens to be very near the Earth. It says so in your own link.


RE: Curious assertion...
By grandpope on 6/3/2010 5:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
That's no moon, it's a space station!


Toyota-built robot?
By BernardP on 6/1/2010 11:44:11 AM , Rating: 3
A Toyota-built robot will suffer a bout of unintended acceleration and crash into one of the LEMs resting on the surface since the 1970's. A day that will live in infamy.




RE: Toyota-built robot?
By Pirks on 6/1/2010 12:31:03 PM , Rating: 2
btw speaking of LEMs: http://www.amazon.com/Peace-Earth-Stanislaw-Lem/dp...

"peaceful" robots you say? ;)) read this book if you wanna know what robots Japs will send there. peaceful my ass hehe :P


recharge station
By Murloc on 6/1/2010 7:20:16 AM , Rating: 2
this would be cool, you could avoid losing the robots after some time and keep them alive longer if they go there and recharge their battery or if the base has some devices able to perform some repairs (like unscrewing a broken part and putting a spare one in the spot), that wouldn't be impossible.




RE: recharge station
By geddarkstorm on 6/1/2010 3:17:30 PM , Rating: 2
Mining the moon, and developing these advanced technologies, is pretty brilliant on Japan's part if they can economically pull it off. After all, they are a small island nation without the mass resources like China, the US, or Russia. It seems they've decided robots are their way into the future and to maintain power on the world stage.

Hopefully they'll have a positive ROI on this.


Courting disaster
By kontorotsui on 6/1/2010 9:29:17 AM , Rating: 2
Give them 300 years and they will become an independent nation and a superpower 200 years later.




RE: Courting disaster
By erple2 on 6/3/2010 3:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
Sure. Then give them some more time, and the next thing you see, the robots all disappear. In their place is a bubbly race of beings that keep asking about *Campers* and *Dancing*.

Just don't make them *Frumple*.


Japan owning the Moon?
By Earthmonger on 6/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Japan owning the Moon?
By AbsShek on 6/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: Japan owning the Moon?
By Earthmonger on 6/1/2010 8:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
That's clever. Nice wit!


Yeah Robots!
By bissimo on 6/1/2010 10:27:55 AM , Rating: 2
This is the sort of thing we can aspire to if we quit trying to send humans to space. The extra cost of sending people is completely unwarranted. If we can let robots do our work on the battlefield (to an extent) why can't they do it in space?




Sony Robots
By jdsal on 6/2/2010 12:51:40 AM , Rating: 2
They should leave the dancing programming in place. What a video that would make with all the robots dancing in unison during an earth-rise.




good
By Chiisuchianu on 6/1/10, Rating: 0
RE: good
By Anodos on 6/1/2010 4:29:40 PM , Rating: 1
Spoken like a true idiot. Well done!


RE: good
By YashBudini on 6/2/10, Rating: 0
Whatever
By Mojo the Monkey on 6/1/2010 1:48:16 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not impressed. Just another article about plans for robotic devices to take measurements of rocks and rock-related-processes.

Hey, international space community: impress me, damnit! Make them play moon soccer or something. Oh well, I sure cant wait till they start figuring out all of those earth problems with moon rock based technology. [sarcasm]




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