At first, a private British space company, Spacebit, will fly a spider robot to the Moon. If the 2-pound robotic crawler would be a success, more such machines will follow it. The mission of the first robot is to test lunar terrain-mapping technology before the company sends more spider robots.
The robot spider would launch aboard the Peregrine lander made by the US-based Astrobotic company. Peregrine will take off with a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket in 2021. A 3D LIDAR system and an HD camera would be the two instruments that the first spider robot would use to map the lunar terrain.
The final goal of these spider robots would be to help scientists spot lava tubes on the Moon, which are reliable for building bases for the future Moon colonists to live safely. The data these machines would gather would be sent to Earth for further studies and the construction of the primary elements of the lunar bases.
The UK scientists plan to send spider robots on the Moon in 2021
The spider robots would be small in size and quite lightweight so that they consume less power. For power, the machines would equip solar panels, as well as built-in batteries. With their four legs, those spider robots would explore the terrain in ways the regular rovers would never be capable of, at the moment.
Another advantage of the solar panels use is that there is no wind on the Moon, so the lunar dust could not cover them. The spider robots would always have power so that they can explore the lunar surface without problems.
The essential feature of the spider robots is what Spacebit calls “swarm intelligence.” That simply means that, once the machines touch the lunar soil, they will communicate with each other like insects and coordinate their reading to map more significant regions of the lunar terrain.
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