A four-legged, centaur-looking, rolling robot is designed to traverse the moon''s surface, including a centaur, a tiny Greek mythological creature with a horse''s body and a human being''s head, as well as the horse''s head.
The robo-centaur has two claw-like arms, an arachnid-like midsection, and two bulging cameras for eyes, which is similar to that of any other Lunar probe you''ve ever seen.
In collaboration with JAXA (Japan''s space agency), the R1 robot was conceived and manufactured by GITAI. During a recent test, the robot successfully roved across the uneven terrain on its four wheels at a JAXA facility that mimicked lunar soil. The rover also managed to unpack a succession of pieces with clamp-like hands and create the foundation for a solar panel.
GITAI has produced a number of robots for various applications, including the R1. According to the company''s website, the objective is to reach the real lunar surface by the mid-2020s.
The robot completed a few additional steps to see how effective it might navigate rocky terrain and slopes, and perhaps get a sample of Lunar rocks. Footage of the test, which has been sped up to 15 times the usual speed to give it the appearance of a stop-motion horror film, shows the robot picking up a tiny scoop and a transparent jar with its pincher hands and jerkily harvesting a little amount of synthetic moon dust.
The new centaur-like robot is just the latest in spacecraft designed and realized. One of the international space stations is a rocket companion robot and robotic arms, which was then developed by Japan. A number of robotic rovers have also been deployed on Mars.
Despite his limitations, none of the R1''s somewhat human traits have been possessed.
GITAI''s robot is part of a movement to develop new methods of doing business in space, such as mining or manufacturing, as China and Russia, as well as the United States and its allies, compete to establish a permanent lunar base. Such a field might be used for various commercial and scientific goals. A number of US-based businesses are also developing robots, rovers, and lunar landers in preparation for future expeditions.