Key idea: Dog-shaped robots may be used on future moon missions, as humanity’s best friend is an agile explorer already.
Original author and publication date: Elizabeth Howell (Space) – September 26, 2022
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: Robotic dogs exploring space? Why not?
From the article:
biological adaptations, which may have included hibernation.
Hybrid humans are part of our history
We got lucky
Our fate is intertwined with nature
Kindness is an evolutionary advantage
We’re a sensitive species
Future lunar explorers may not only be barking at the moon, but digging for scientific answers.
Dog-shaped robots may be used on future moon missions, as humanity’s best friend is an agile explorer already. Leaping, digging and exploring elevated terrain are all things dogs eagerly do on Earth.
Now, researchers hope to replicate that agility on the moon for the NASA-led Artemis program that could land astronauts later in the 2020s.
The robot dog concept is called LEAP, or Legged Exploration of the Aristarchus Plateau; Aristarchus is one of the moon’s regions that the European Space Agency or ESA (which is funding the project) hopes to explore before too long.
“With the robot, we can investigate key features to study the geologic history and evolution of the moon, like the ejecta around craters, fresh impact sites, and collapsed lava tubes, where material may not have been altered by space weathering and other processes,” Patrick Bambach, an engineer at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, said in a statement(opens in new tab).
The dog-like robot may ride on the surface of ESA’s European Large Logistics Lander(opens in new tab) (EL3), which is tasked to send payloads and experiments to the moon’s surface starting in the late 2020s. The dog shape is based on a legged robot called ANYmal that was developed at ETH Zürich and its spinoff ANYbotics.