NASA Project M Robot Avatar On Moon

NASA's Project M is a JSC Engineering Directorate mission to put a landing craft on the moon within 1000 days. The "M" therefore has two meanings: "M" for "moon" and "M" for 1000. The mission would land a robotic telepresence device on the moon that would be controlled by earth-bound scientists.

Project M was briefly mentioned on NASA-related blogs last November. It was linked to Google's Lunar X Prize, which offers $30 million to land a craft on the moon.

The story has resurfaced, this time with a cool humanoid robot video. What would it be like to wake up - on the Moon?


(NASA Project M video)

I would think that NASA would go with the already functional and debugged Robonaut, an excellent humanoid telepresence robot.

The idea of using telepresence robotics to accomplish work on the moon from the earth was used in Pournelle and Niven's 1981 novel Oath of Fealty; they describe a telepresence bulldozer:

"Meet Rachel Lief," Lunan said. "Ms. Lief is a bulldozer driver." Lunan paused for effect. "As you see, Ms. Lief doesn't look like your typical tractor driver..."

"But then," Lunan said, "not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon." The cameras followed the trim woman into another room, where there was a replica of a large tractor. It was surrounded by TV screens. One screen showed an astronaut sitting in the driver's seat, staring impatiently into the screen. A bleak, nearly colorless pit showed over his left shoulder.

"About time you got here," the astronaut said.

"We were busy," Rachel sat down in the driver's seat and took hold of the controls. "I relieve you..."

The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine...
(Read more about Pournelle and Niven's telepresence bulldozer)

Not much information is available; take a look at Popular Science.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 2/26/2010)

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