Japan Lunar Base... Jun 21, 2005 7:00:53 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Jun 21, 2005 7:00:53 GMT -6
Japan dreams of robot moon base in 2025
Japan wants to help build a lunar base and populate it with advanced versions of today's humanoid robots by around 2025, according to the head of the nation's space agency.
The idea is more than a pipe-dream; it is part of a 20-year plan, called JAXA Vision 2025, that was drawn up by Keiji Tachikawa, a former president of Japan's largest mobile operator NTT DoCoMo, who is now president of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
As part of the plan, Japan would use advanced robotic technologies to help build the moon base, while redeveloped versions of today's humanoid robots, such as Honda Motor Co. Ltd.'s Asimo and Sonys Qrio, could work in the moon's inhospitable environment in place of astronauts, he said in a recent interview.
Japan's lunar robots would do work such as building telescopes and prospecting and mining for minerals, Tachikawa said.
"I see a big role for Japan's robotics technologies on the moon," he said. "Japanese robots will be one of our big contributions. If there is work where robots can replace humans, they will."
Tachikawa's plan follows a January 2004 decision by U.S. President George W. Bush that the U.S., with the assistance of partners including Japan, should build a lunar base by about 2020 and use it as a staging point for the human exploration of Mars.
Japan's space program was established in 1969, a few months after the American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. In the late 1990s, a leading Japanese think tank proposed that Japan launch over 100 rockets carrying robots and materials to help establish a Japanese outpost by 2020.
More here: www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id%3B863998707%3Bfp%3B2%3Bfpid%3B1
I wonder if the Moon will be an international zone, much like the Antartic is now?