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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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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.




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