An ambitious $2.2 billion project in the works at JAXA, the Japanese space agency, plans to put humanoid robots on the moon by 2015, and now official backing from the Prime Minister's office says the Japanese could have an unmanned lunar base up and running by 2020.
As currently envisioned, the robots that will land on the lunar surface in 2015 will be 660-pound behemoths equipped with rolling tank-like treads, solar panels, seismographs, high-def cameras and a smattering of scientific instruments. The robots will be controlled from Earth, but they'll also be imbued with their own kind of machine intelligence, making decisions on their own and operating with a high degree of autonomy.
Those initial surveyor bots will pave the way for the construction of the unmanned moon base which the robots will construct for themselves. That base will provide a working/living space future robot colonizers, as well as—presumably—a jumping off point for future human moon dwellers.
From Popular Science
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