Robots are currently being developed by a research team to help in the mining projects being conducted on the surface of the Moon.
The team, according to a Newsweek report through MSN News, which was granted $500,000 by NASA in funding, through its Minority University Research and Education Project Space Technology, visualizes the robots will be able to do certain jobs like mining, excavating, and even constructing simple structures on the Moon's surface.
While the robots, which will be constructed and trained on Earth, will at first need to be given instructions from operators on this planet, the research team is hoping they will ultimately be able to work autonomously.
The robots will utilize a learning model adopted by aerospace and mechanical engineering associate professor Jekan Tanga from the University of Arizona. This model is called HEART or Human and Explainable Autonomous Robotic System.
The 'HEART' System
This system will not just train robots to carry out mechanical works such as mining and construction, but it will gradually teach them to collaborate.
The UA research team said their invention would not take the place of or replace humans on manned missions in space, although it will "free up time for astronauts," enabling them to focus on more critical space missions.
Thanga said, in a sense, they're working like farmers, breeding talent out of the said creatures, or an entire family of such, to perform specific tasks.
The notion is to have the robots constructed, set things up, and perform all the so-called dirty, boring, and hazardous jobs, and thus, astronauts can perform more interesting works.
Operations on the Surface of Moon
As Newsweek reported, NASA is already preparing for more manned Moon missions, most considerably the Artemis Mission that will see people of color walk for the first time on the lunar surface.
Future Moon missions will look to institute a base of operations on the surface of the Moon, which will eventually result in the manned exploration of the Red Planet.
The main watchword in this new period of space exploration has become sustainability. Shipping materials into space is not cheap, and it takes up valuable weight and room allocations on rocket trips.
Meaning, there is a natural advantage to gathering new raw materials that can be collected on the body's surface being looked for exploration.
Similarity Between Moon and the Earth
In a press release, interim head Moe Momayez of the UA's Department of Mining and Geological Engineering said it is indeed exciting to be at the lead of a new field.
He added, he remembers, as a kid, he was watching TV shows such as Space: 1999, a program that tells all about the lunar bases a similar report from the Minority Reporter specified.
And now, in 20201, he continued, "we're talking about colonizing the moon." In one of the most well-backed theories about Moon formation, scientists proposed a collision with another body that ripped material away from this planet.
Such a material ultimately cooled and formed the Moon, this planet's natural satellite. This then suggested a high similarity between the Moon and the Earth in terms of chemical compositions.
This swarm of robots could mine helium-3 as well, an isotope of helium that could be employed to fuel further space trips, making the Moon a perfect refueling station for manned exploration on Mars.
Since mining on this planet is taking a lot of water, something that possibly won't be available on the Moon, the robot swarm will need to use new procedures for mining for drilling on the lunar surface.
Commenting on this recent invention, Momayez said, to break rocks, they used an abundance of water, and that's something that won't be available on the moon.
Therefore, he added, there is a need for new processes and techniques. The most effective way of breaking rocks on this Planet is by blasting, and no one has ever set off that said blast on the Moon.
Related information about mining robots is shown on NASA's YouTube video below:
Check out more news and information on Moon Exploration in Science Times.