Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lunar robots: My idea.

I started by reading this:

So I read an article yesterday about some Italian team creating spider-like robots to walk on the moon, take pictures and send them back to Earth. My first thought is, "how are you going to get them back? Or are you just going to leave your trash there?" Then I got to thinking that they are going about this all wrong. If you are going to send up a bunch of robots why not make them MUCH more worthwhile?

With today’s technology we could easily send up a couple of robots (or a million) and have them run around digging and whatnot. In fact, why not design them to complete advanced tasks such as assembling buildings and maintenance on each other? Here’s what I would do if I had NASA money…

· Build robots that can travel 50 miles using rechargeable batteries. Robots themselves can’t recharge. People are retrofitting their motor cycles to use batteries and can get 40 miles per charge and go 60 miles per hour.

· Send up payloads containing various modules.

o “GPS” stations to create grid for mapping and navigating. Solar powered.Antennas need to be set up to help robots triangulate their position on the planet.

o Charging stations for robots. Each charging station is portable and is self powered via solar panels. Hundreds of units can be set up to expand the range of each robot.

o Human base stations. Could be inflatable so all a robot has to do is roll it to where it’s needed and connect CO2 canister to inflate.

o Greenhouse. If we are planning on sending people there to live for a while why not get a greenhouse going BEFORE they get there?

o Extra parts for robot self repair. Why not? Why can’t a robot replace the battery on another robot? Robots can be fitted with interchangeable arms to perform various functions.

o Labs. Send up additional labs for robots to send samples for analysis.

· Shuttles aren’t needed. Only a rocket large enough to get the payload off the ground is needed.Payloads can vary from small to huge.

So basically you want to send up a couple robots, charging stations and the transmitting towers to get “the grid” started. Now there is a way for robots to triangulate their position and not get lost. Next, you can send up 50 bots and 100 charging stations. Have the bots set the charging stations all over the place to expand the area the bots can go. Send up a base for sending data back to Earth. This can also be linked to a lab where samples are taken for analysis.

All this can be done easily with NASA’s resources. Use the moon as a testing ground. Then start on mars.

Here are some very basic concepts. You can click on each image to enlarge it.

There are all kinds of sizes and variations that can be built with this system.

Example of a solar panel collecting power to charge rover batteries.

Basic rover with two arm modules. All components and modules could be "plug and play" for easy assembly.

Feedback is welcome. Note to NASA: if you want to know more of my ideas just ask. ;)