Many folks would like to see us back on the Moon and developing its resources.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lunar Base Construction Robots - Will they be intelligent?

Folks have been thinking about this for some time.
How close to the science fiction stories do you think they will get?
- LRK -

Japan Space Net
Talk About Lunar Base Getting Serious

Once simply the fodder for science-fiction stories, building a base on the moon is now being looked at in earnest by Japan.

Tokyo -- December 19,1996 -- Recently some 170 of the world's top space scientists, engineers and mission specialists attending the Second International Lunar Workshop in Kyoto, debating not only an extensive scientific re-exploration of the lunar landscape, but the setting up of a permanent manned presence within thirty years.

Speaker after speaker talked of the scientific and technical benefits to be accrued from exploring the moon. Some pointed to the huge tasks ahead developing critical technology needed even to get there again. But while the problem of raising finance was conveniently skipped during the five day confab, one topic dominated discussions; how to build a lunar base.


Nine years later, still a topic of interest.
- LRK -
Japan Dreams of Robot Moon Base in 2025
Advanced humanoid robots could take over mining, telescope-building chores for humans.
Paul Kallender, IDG News Service
Jun 20, 2005 1:00 am

TOKYO -- 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's Asimo and Sony's 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."

U.S. Also Interested
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.
The plan has struck a chord in Japan, which has long harbored dreams of building such a base


and now four years later again, robots to go to the Moon.
What kind of robots would colonize the Moon?
- LRK -
From The Times
April 4, 2009
One step for a robot, a giant leap for tin-mankind
Leo Lewis in Tokyo
The cutting-edge models can lumber around a room without falling over. A few can play the trumpet or serve tea. The truly sophisticated ones can just about manage the washing-up.
But by 2020, Japan predicts, humanoid robots will be ready to colonise the Moon. Other metallic brethren of these mechanical pioneers, said scientists in Tokyo, will be engaged in the bigger, more prosaic mission of cleaning Earth’s orbit of junk.

If we think that a robot might be intelligent, what would that mean?
When you hear the word "Robot" what image does that bring up:
- LRK -
Intelligent Robotics

The NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) is dedicated to enabling humans and robots to explore and learn about extreme environments, remote locations, and uncharted worlds. IRG conducts applied research in a wide range of areas with an emphasis on robotics systems science and field testing. IRG's expertise includes applied computer vision (navigation, 3D surface modeling, automated science support), human-robot interaction, mobile manipulation, interactive 3D visualization, and robot software architecture.

IRG maintains and operates a variety of robot hardware, including fifteen "Personal Exploration Rovers" (low-cost, educational mobile robots), the K9 planetary rover (based on a JPL FIDO chassis), four K10 planetary rovers, and dexterous manipulators (Amtec Schunk arms and Barrett grippers). IRG's research facilities include the Marscape (3,000 sq. meter outdoor rover test facility and Mars surface analog) and the Moonscape (250 sq. meter indoor rover test facility with high-precision optical tracking).

We firmly believe that collaboration is an essential part of modern research, which improves quality and speeds technology transfer. Thus, we are presently working on joint projects with partners from academia, government, and industry.


or do you just want to get some job done and a colony of robots much like an ant colony would be enough?
- LRK -

Int. J. of Computers, Communications & Control, ISSN 1841-9836, E-ISSN 1841-9844
Vol. III (2008), Suppl. issue: Proceedings of ICCCC 2008, pp. 92-107
Colony of robots: New Challenge
Workshop invited key lecture
Gastón Lefranc

Abstract: The evolution on Robotics has in a cross way of application. For one side is
the applications to manufacturing, other one is application to medicine, another one in space
exploration and it is starting home applications. It is very popular to have contest of robots
for students, motivating very well to student, supported by universities, achieving good image
for the institutions.
One way for mobile robots is Nomad, a nice application for having new knowledge in the
space, but the inversion it is very expense and complex. If it has problem or fail, all the work
will stop. Instead of that, if you use a community of robots, working like a society of insect, it
is possible to have simpler mobile robots to have specific tasks, less expensive, more reliable
to reach the same aims.
In this presentation is focusing in colony of robots. This implies to merge several disciplines
based on models of communities, to have control of a society of robots working together in a
collaborative and cooperative way in non structured environments.
Keywords: Multi-robots, Colony of robots, Multiagents Systems


If you think your robot should be intelligent, would you mean that it should have the ability to acquire and use knowledge?

And by knowledge, you mean that it should be able to organize information?
Would you want it to be able to communicate, that is transfer its knowledge?
Should it have intuition, that is built in knowledge.

How would it acquire knowledge?
Have feelings, that is experience sensory input.
Should it have perception, the ability to transform sensations into knowledge?

What about being able to reason, applying logic to thinking.
Oh, should it be able to think, analyze what it imagined.
Aaah, have imagination, that is be able to visualize, model and devise simulations.

And lets be scarry, should it be aware, that is have knowledge of the world (Moon) situation.
Should it show emotion, that is have value judgment, evaluation of good and bad.
Lastly, throw in some consciousness, the ability to include self in the world model.

A PowerPoint presentation of the potential impact of intelligent machines on science, economics, military strength, and human well being can be found here: [116 KB, 22 slides - LRK -]
Engineering of Mind: An Introduction to the Science of Intelligent Systems (Hardcover)
Presenting a reference model architecture for the design of intelligent systems
Engineering of Mind presents the foundations for a computational theory of intelligence. It discusses the main streams of investigation that will eventually converge in a scientific theory of mind and proposes an avenue of research that might best lead to the development of truly intelligent systems.

Will be interesting to see just what kind of robots go to the Moon.
- LRK -

Some added links below from 1990 until 2009.
What kind of robot would you like to have helping you colonize the Moon?

Thanks for looking up with me.

Larry Kellogg

Web Site:
RSS link:

*Lunar base construction robots*
Brooks, R.A.; Maes, P.; Mataric, M.J.; More, G.
Intelligent Robots and Systems apos;90. apos;Towards a New Frontier of Applicationsapos;, Proceedings. IROS apos;90. IEEE International Workshop on
Volume , Issue , 3-6 Jul 1990 Page(s):389 - 392 vol.1
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/IROS.1990.262415
*Summary:*President Bush called for the construction of a permanently manned lunar base. All serious plans for such a base require the use of lunar soil as shielding material against the Sun's radiation. Plans rely on the use of a large bulldozer-like vehicle to be driven by an astronaut, either locally or under teleoperation control. Brooks and Flynn (89) proposed an alternate approach to a single large and complex robot based on many small totally autonomous robots which trade off time to achieve the task with lowered complexity and cost of the system. In this paper the authors describe an experimental system they are building with 20 small bulldozers, which work without explicit coordination or communication, but nevertheless cooperate to achieve tasks that will be useful in building a manned lunar base. In particular the authors believe such tasks as digging out trenches in which the habitation units will be placed, stockpiling a supply of loose lunar soil to cover the habitation units, and actually covering them when delivered, can all be carried out by such small bulldozers

» View citation and abstract

Robotic evolution for the Human Lunar Base

Geophysical Research Abstracts, Vol. 7, 10554, 2005
SRef-ID: 1607-7962/gra/EGU05-A-10554
© European Geosciences Union 2005

K. Matsumoto, S. Wakabayashi, T. Hoshino, K. Matsumoto
ISTA/JAXA ( / 81-422-40-3146)

The human lunar base and human lunar exploration is going to be the next world wide
space exploration target, after 30 years absence. In these 30 years, many technologies
have been drastically advanced, especially in the robotics, computers, artificial
intelligence, communications, and so on.

In consideration of the too severe lunar environment, such as the night temperature,
space radiation, and so on, before the human base, the full utilization of those robotic
technologies will be implemented and developed to support and build the safe, reliable,
and affordable human lunar base.

In this presentation, we will discuss and propose the stepwise evolution scenario to
the safe human lunar base, from the view points of robotic technologies. These steps
will start with the international robotic village by the virtual collaboration, as the first
step, and will reach the international human lunar base with many assistant and support
robot systems as the lunar base infrastructure. Those robot systems will be large
scale construction robot for the lunar base assembly, geological sample assembly robot
for in-site resource utilization, maintenance and repair robot of the lunar base itself,
assembly and maintenance of the scientific equipments with delicate fingers or end
effectors, and so on. These lunar base robots will be the next generation space robots
after the ISS space robots and rover robots on the Mars.

Crew/Robot Coordinated Planetary EVA Operations at a Lunar Base Analog Site

M. Diftler, R. Ambrose, W. Bluethmann, F. Delgado, E. Herrera, J. Kosmo, B. Janoiko, B. Wilcox, J. Townsend, J. Matthews, Terrence W. Fong, M. Bualat, S. Y. Lee, John Dorsey, and W. Doggett

38th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March, 2007.

* Adobe portable document format (pdf) (626KB)

Copyright notice: This material is presented to ensure timely dissemination of scholarly and technical work. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by authors or by other copyright holders. All persons copying this information are expected to adhere to the terms and constraints invoked by each author's copyright. These works may not be reposted without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.

Under the direction of NASA's Exploration Technology Development Program, robots and space suited subjects from several NASA centers recently completed a very successful demonstration of coordinated activities indicative of base camp operations on the lunar surface. For these activities, NASA chose a site near Meteor Crater, Arizona close to where Apollo Astronauts previously trained. The main scenario demonstrated crew returning from a planetary EVA (extra-vehicular activity) to a temporary base camp and entering a pressurized rover compartment while robots performed tasks in preparation for the next EVA. Scenario tasks included: rover operations under direct human control and autonomous modes, crew ingress and egress activities, autonomous robotic payload removal and stowage operations under both local control and remote control from Houston, and autonomous robotic navigation and inspection. In addition to the main scenario, participants had an opportunity to explore additional robotic operations: hill climbing, maneuvering heaving loads, gathering geological samples, drilling, and tether operations. In this analog environment, the suited subjects and robots experienced high levels of dust, rough terrain, and harsh lighting.

Text Reference
M. Diftler, R. Ambrose, W. Bluethmann, F. Delgado, E. Herrera, J. Kosmo, B. Janoiko, B. Wilcox, J. Townsend, J. Matthews, Terrence W. Fong, M. Bualat, S. Y. Lee, John Dorsey, and W. Doggett, "Crew/Robot Coordinated Planetary EVA Operations at a Lunar Base Analog Site," 38th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, March, 2007.

- LRK -
Participants: Two suited subjects, four robots and a pressurized rover compartment participated in the demonstration. The Johnson Space Center provided the two space suits and the suit subjects, the two person SCOUT (Science Crew Operations and Utility Testbed) rover, and the dexterous humanoid Centaur robot. The K-10 robot from the Ames Research Center performed inspection activities and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) robot maneuvered and supported a pressurized rover compartment provided by the Langley Research Center.

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2008) — Conditions on the moon will be harsher, but prototype NASA robotic vehicles braved sand storms and unprecedented temperature swings this month on sand dunes near Moses Lake, Wash., to prepare for future lunar expeditions. Teams from seven NASA centers and several universities conducted the tests from June 2-13.

"The goal was to gain hands-on experience with specific technical challenges anticipated when humans return to the moon by 2020, begin to explore the lunar surface, and set up outposts," said Test Director Bill Bluethmann of NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.

NASA's Human Robotic Systems Project, part of the agency's Exploration Technology Development Program, focused on human and robotic mobility systems for the moon, but also looked at communication and command and control systems that will connect the explorers with Earth and each other. The Moses Lake dunes provided a wide variety of soil consistencies and terrain that allowed the team to put prototype scout robots, rovers, cargo carriers, cranes and spacesuits through tests in a harsh and changing environment.

Small Robots Can Prepare Lunar Surface For NASA Outpost

ScienceDaily (Mar. 2, 2009) — Small robots the size of riding mowers could prepare a safe landing site for NASA’s Moon outpost, according to a NASA-sponsored study prepared by Astrobotic Technology Inc. with technical assistance from Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute.

Astrobotic Technology and Carnegie Mellon researchers analyzed mission requirements and developed the design for an innovative new type of small lunar robot under contract from NASA’s Lunar Surface Systems group.

The results will be presented February 27 in Washington, D.C., at a NASA Lunar Surface Systems conference co-sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its Space Enterprise Council.

“NASA faces a challenge in planning the layout for its outpost, which is expected to begin operations in 2020,” said William “Red” Whittaker, chairman and chief technical officer of Astrobotic and a Carnegie Mellon professor of robotics. “For efficient cargo transfer, the landing site needs to be close to the outpost’s crew quarters and laboratories. Each rocket landing and takeoff, however, will accelerate lunar grit outwards from the pad. With no atmosphere to slow it down, the dry soil would sandblast the outpost.”




No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Moon and Mars - Videos