Private Lunar Mission to Land Robots, Return Samples

from the Sony-Aibo-was-not-considered dept.
redbird pointed out a story about a privately-funded project to retrieve lunar samples with robots supplied by Los Alamos roboticist Mark Tilden. "[Applied Space Resources] plans to launch [the Lunar Retriever mission] into low Earth orbit and then moonward using former Soviet technologies," possibly including decommissioned tactical missiles.

Following the conclusion of the Retriever phase of the mission, Tilden wants to use his robots to clear a lunar beachhead of ultra-fine dust, which poses a threat to delicate machines. "By the time the mini-Sisyphi die four years after landing from prolonged exposure to gamma radiation, theyíll have cleared a figure eight-shaped, four million square yard (four square kilometer) area… Tilden hopes to follow those colonizers with cheap, wheeled kindred robots that assemble themselves in reconfigurable solar arrays. A final wave of compulsive wirers and cable-layers would then provide the plug for subsequent landers looking to juice up."

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