As the USA races to send people back on the moon for the first time in almost 50 years, a NASA-funded lab in Colorado aims to put robots there to deploy telescopes that will look far into the galaxy, remotely operated by revolving astronauts.
The radio telescopes, to be mounted on the far side of the moon, are among plenty of projects underway by the U.S. space agency, private corporations and other countries that can transform the moonscape in the subsequent decade.
“This isn’t your grandfather’s Apollo mission that we’re,” said Jack Burns, director of the Network for Space Science and Exploration at the University of Colorado, which is working on the telescope venture.
Someday in the coming decade, Burns’ group will send a rover aboard a lunar lander spacecraft to the far side of the moon. The rover will resound across the steep and rough floor – that includes a mountain taller than any on earth – to set up a community of radio telescopes with little assistance from human beings.
Astronauts will be capable of controlling the rover’s single robotic arm from an orbital lunar outpost called Gateway, which an international consortium of space agencies is developing. The program will provide access to and from the moon’s floor and serve as a refueling site for deep space missions.
The goal is to offer astronauts control of the rover “in a quicker trend and more like doing some online game,” stated Ben Mellinkoff, a graduate student at the university. His venture is telerobotics, or utilizing artificial intelligence to provide users higher control over robotic activities from afar.