It looks like everyone is racing to get robots on the moon. Recently we heard that NASA will attempt to send a ‘humanoid’ up in as little as 100 days. Now we hear of Japan getting in on the act. China is also rumoured to be gearing up for one too.
If an Osaka-based business group known as known as the Space Oriented Higashiosaka Leading Association (SOHLA) has its way, there will be a humanoid robot on the moon by the year 2015.
Maido-kun is a wheeled humanoid and the newest in a long line of metallic wonders coming from a nation enamored with robots. This one is designed to function in the harsh lunar environment where it is thought that wheels may prove more practical than legs.
“Humanoid robots are glamorous, and they tend to get people fired up. We hope to develop a charming robot to fulfill the dream of going to space,” said SOHLA board member Noriyuki Yoshida.
Since 2005, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has had plans to send robots to the moon with the target date somewhere in 2015, but they were at first concentrating on robots with two legs. Wheels began to seem more feasible for navigating along the lunar landscape.