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Old June 8th, 2010, 05:40 AM   #121
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Yes, both.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #122
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Not really, there isn't much economic benefit of mining minerals in space then bringing them to earth. You may as well stuff you mine/refine in space to other people in space. Aparently there are a bunch of papers based on space mining economy. Mainly dealing with shipping resources back to earths surface would make the minerals almost worthless compaired to minerals sold and used even in low earth orbit.

Although the asteroid belt has more metals then what humanity has mines in all history, so theres a lot of usable stuff up there. Including ice water (although how much in the asteroid belt is unknown)
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Old June 8th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #123
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Yes, both.
If thats the case, then Humans will ruin the entire Solar system, how can they handle an entire system if they cant even handle Earth ?
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Old June 8th, 2010, 03:31 PM   #124
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Does anyone have any news on the "space yacht" launched by JAXA? It's supposed to run on the sun.

Space probe enthralls Japan as it heads home
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SAGAMIHARA — Japan is counting down to the homecoming of a space hero next week: not an astronaut but a battered machine limping back from a seven-year odyssey to a distant space rock.

It is hoped the small probe Hayabusa ("Falcon") may have beaten bigger US and European projects to become the first spacecraft to bring home raw material from an asteroid, part of the primeval rubble left over from the making of the solar system.

Hayabusa, which cost 12.7 billion yen (138 million dollars) to develop, is approaching the end of a five-billion-kilometre (three-billion-mile) trek with broken engines, failed posture-adjusting devices and disfunctional batteries.

The spacecraft is due to release a canister expected to contain asteroid dust as it approaches Earth, aiming to land it at the Woomera Test Range in the Australian outback on June 13 -- if all goes well.

Hayabusa itself will be incinerated as it smashes into the atmosphere, prompting devout fans to declare that the falcon will be reborn as a "Phoenix" -- a mythical firebird.

The journey has captured the public imagination, with a computer-graphics movie "Hayabusa back to the Earth" drawing some 150,000 people at planetariums across the nation and proposals that the spacecraft be given a National Honour Award.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), on a special website (http://hayabusa.jaxa.jp/), has received nearly 1,000 messages treating the probe as a human boy and cheering him on in the lonely, difficult journey.

"What's special to Hayabusa is it has enthusiastic fans. I believe ordinary people love it because it tried what is unprecedented," JAXA associate professor Makoto Yoshikawa, told AFP.

The car-size probe with solar paddles has already become the world's first spacecraft to land on and lift off a celestial body other than the moon after it made a rendezvous with the potato-shaped asteroid Itokawa.

Launched on May 9 2003, Hayabusa approached the 540-metre-wide (1,782-foot) asteroid in September 2005.

The probe made a pinpoint landing at a smooth spot on the bumpy, revolving asteroid, which is 300 million kilometres away from Earth -- about twice as far as the sun.

Hayabusa left on Itokawa a metal ball wrapped in a thin plastic film that bears the names of 880,000 people from 149 countries, among them US filmmaker Steven Spielberg and British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke. All had responded to JAXA's public invitation to be listed.

The moon and planets like Mars pull a spacecraft in once it gets close to them, but Hayabusa needed to land in near zero gravity.

The task was difficult, Yoshikawa said. "It was like putting up a needle on the top of Mount Fuji and firing a grain of sand through its hole," he said in Sagamihara, west of Tokyo, where ground control is based.

Scientists expect Hayabusa managed to collect dust that floated up when the probe bounced on Itokawa, although data show the probe failed to fire a bullet as planned to crush the surface or raise a curl of sand.

They hope raw samples, unlike scorched remains such as meteorites, will give them clues on how the solar system has developed.

The United States and Europe have both launched big projects to analyse primitive phenomena.

They include Rosetta, a one-billion-euro (1.2-billion-dollar) mission by the European Space Agency due to climax in 2014, which aims to deploy a robot lab on a comet, analyse its soil and transmit the data back home.

In its 2005 Deep Impact mission, the United States smashed a metal mass into a comet to analyse the gas and dust spewed out by the impact. Another US craft, Stardust, returned in 2006 with material scooped up by flying through the wake of a comet.

Scientists say Hayabusa did a great job even if it turns out there is nothing in the sampling capsule, as the spacecraft took pictures and analysed the density, composition of surface elements and other features of the asteroid by using infrared and X-rays.

Hayabusa was hit by a series of technical troubles. It went out of control because of fuel leakage in December 2005 and then lost communication with Earth for seven weeks to January 2006.

When ground control restored communication it was too late for Hayabusa to enter the planned orbit for its return. It needed to wait for three years until the positions of the Earth and Itokawa became ideal.

As ground engineers patched up damaged functions to control Hayabusa, the probe left the asteroid for Earth in April 2007.

It is currently flying on a combination of two partially broken ion engines, with one compensating for the other's disfunctional operation.

"It was an adventure, indeed," Yoshikawa said.

The first era of space exploration is already over "but we'll see an age of going to and returning from small celestial bodies in the solar system," he said. "Hayabusa is the first step of it."

Only the spacecraft, the sun, Earth and the asteroid appear in the film "Hayabusa Back to the Earth", but many children watch the final scene with tears as the probe is burned up, director Hiromitsu Kohsaka said.

"It is important to show reality as it is. It's also symbolic of a life being passed on to the next generation that Hayabusa delivers that previous capsule to Earth and then ends its life," he said.

The JAXA website carries messages from Hayabusa fans ranging from engineers to housewives.

"You will go into flames and will continue to live like a Phoenix in our heart," one message to the probe reads.

Another says: "We'll never forget you no matter how you end up... Can you hear us, Can you see us, Hayabusa?"
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Old June 8th, 2010, 03:55 PM   #125
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Ou're thinking in terms of 2010 technology
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Old June 8th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #126
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Does anyone have any news on the "space yacht" launched by JAXA? It's supposed to run on the sun.
Hayabusa is supposed to land back to Earth pretty soon (in a few days). It did suffer malfunctions during its mission, so it remains to be seen if it can successfully execute capsule separation and parachute reentry. They did complete the TCM 3 burn 3 days ago and everything seems nominal so far.

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Old June 8th, 2010, 04:01 PM   #127
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Ou're thinking in terms of 2010 technology
Imo, bringing materials from outer space back to the Earth gravity well seems impractical. "Once you're in orbit, you're half way to anywhere."
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Old June 8th, 2010, 04:15 PM   #128
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Its impractical now, but won't be so in 70 years.
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Old June 8th, 2010, 05:36 PM   #129
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Strange Discovery on Titan Leads to Speculation of Alien Life



New findings have roused a great deal of hoopla over the possibility of life on Saturn's moon Titan, which some news reports have further hyped up as hints of extraterrestrials.

However, scientists also caution that aliens might have nothing to do with these findings.

All this excitement is rooted in analyses of chemical data returned by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. One study suggested that hydrogen was flowing down through Titan's atmosphere and disappearing at the surface. Astrobiologist Chris McKay at NASA Ames Research Center speculated this could be a tantalizing hint that hydrogen is getting consumed by life.

"It's the obvious gas for life to consume on Titan, similar to the way we consume oxygen on Earth," McKay said.

Another study investigating hydrocarbons on Titan's surface found a lack of acetylene, a compound that could be consumed as food by life that relies on liquid methane instead of liquid water to live.

"If these signs do turn out to be a sign of life, it would be doubly exciting because it would represent a second form of life independent from water-based life on Earth," McKay said.

However, NASA scientists caution that aliens might not be involved at all.

"Scientific conservatism suggests that a biological explanation should be the last choice after all non-biological explanations are addressed," said Mark Allen, principal investigator with the NASA Astrobiology Institute Titan team. "We have a lot of work to do to rule out possible non-biological explanations. It is more likely that a chemical process, without biology, can explain these results."

"Both results are still preliminary," McKay told SPACE.com.

To date, methane-based life forms are only speculative, with McKay proposing a set of conditions necessary for these kinds of organisms on Titan in 2005. Scientists have not yet detected this form of life anywhere, although there are liquid-water-based microbes on Earth that thrive on methane or produce it as a waste product.

On Titan, where temperatures are around minus 290 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 179 degrees Celsius), any organisms would have to use a substance that is liquid as its medium for living processes. Water itself cannot do, because it is frozen solid on Titan's surface. The list of liquid candidates is very short -- liquid methane and related molecules such as ethane. Previous studies have found Titan to have lakes of liquid methane.

Missing hydrogen?


This image shows bodies of liquid near Titan's north pole. It show that many of the features commonly associated with lakes on Earth, such as islands, bays, inlets and channels, are also present on this cold Saturnian moon. Credit: NASA/JPL

The dearth of hydrogen Cassini detected is consistent with conditions that could produce methane-based life, but do not conclusively prove its existence, cautioned researcher Darrell Strobel, a Cassini interdisciplinary scientist based at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., who authored the paper on hydrogen appearing online in the journal Icarus.

Strobel looked at densities of hydrogen in different parts of the atmosphere and the surface. Previous models from scientists had predicted that hydrogen molecules, a byproduct of ultraviolet sunlight breaking apart acetylene and methane molecules in the upper atmosphere, should be distributed fairly evenly throughout the atmospheric layers.

Strobel's computer simulations suggest a hydrogen flow down to the surface at a rate of about 10,000 trillion trillion molecules per second.

"It's as if you have a hose and you're squirting hydrogen onto the ground, but it's disappearing," Strobel said. "I didn't expect this result, because molecular hydrogen is extremely chemically inert in the atmosphere, very light and buoyant. It should 'float' to the top of the atmosphere and escape."

Strobel said it is not likely that hydrogen is being stored in a cave or underground space on Titan. An unknown mineral could be acting as a catalyst on Titan's surface to help convert hydrogen molecules and acetylene back to methane.

Although Allen commended Strobel, he noted "a more sophisticated model might be needed to look into what the flow of hydrogen is."

Consumed acetylene?


This image, by the Cassini Spacecraft, shows the first observed flash of sunlight reflected off a lake on Saturn's moon Titan. Titan's liquid lakes are made of methane. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/DLR.


Scientists had expected the sun's interactions with chemicals in the atmosphere to produce acetylene that falls down to coat the Titan surface. But Cassini mapped hydrocarbons on Titan's surface, it detected no acetylene on the surface, findings appearing online in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Instead of alien life on Titan, Allen said one possibility is that sunlight or cosmic rays are transforming the acetylene in icy aerosols in the atmosphere into more complex molecules that would fall to the ground with no acetylene signature.

In addition, Cassini detected an absence of water ice on the Titan surface, but loads of benzene and another as-yet-unidentified material, which appears to be an organic compound. The researchers that a film of organic compounds are covering the water ice that makes up Titan's bedrock. This layer of hydrocarbons is at least a few millimeters to centimeters thick, but possibly much deeper in some places.

"Titan's atmospheric chemistry is cranking out organic compounds that rain down on the surface so fast that even as streams of liquid methane and ethane at the surface wash the organics off, the ice gets quickly covered again," said Cassini team scientist Roger Clark based at the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver. "All that implies Titan is a dynamic place where organic chemistry is happening now."

Speculation 'Jumping the Gun'

Saturn's moon Titan, shown here in an artist rendering is loaded with liquid methane and shrouded by heavy clouds. Might it support life? New evidence raises the possibility, but scientists say it's more likely the findings involve non-biological processes. Credit: NASA/JPL

All this speculation "is jumping the gun, in my opinion," Allen said.

"Typically in the search for the existence of life, one looks for the presence of evidence -- say, the methane seen in the atmosphere of Mars, which can't be made by normal photochemical processes," Allen added. "Here we're talking about absence of evidence rather than presence of evidence -- missing hydrogen and acetylene -- and often times there are many non-life processes that can explain why things are missing."

These findings are "still a long way from evidence of life," McKay said. "But it could be interesting."


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Extreme Life on Earth Could Survive on Mars, Too


The Lost Hammer Spring on Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut Territory, Canada, may be even more inhospitable than some places on Mars. Yet it hosts microbial life, scientists found. Credit: Dept. of Microbiology, McGill University, Montreal

A new discovery of bacterial life in a Martian-like environment on Earth suggests our neighboring red planet could also be hospitable to some form of microbial life.

Researchers found methane-eating bacteria that appear to be thriving in a unique spring called Lost Hammer on Axel Heiberg Island in the extreme north of Canada.

This spring is similar to possible past or present springs on Mars, the scientists say, so it hints that microbial life could potentially exist there, too. There is no firm evidence that Mars does or ever did host life, however.

The Lost Hammer spring is extremely salty – so much so that the water doesn't freeze, even though temperatures are below freezing. The water has no consumable oxygen in it, but there are big bubbles of methane that rise to the surface.

And yet, the researchers found unique anaerobic organisms – creatures that don't need oxygen to survive – thriving in the spring. The hardy organisms most likely breathe sulfate instead of oxygen, the researchers said.

"The Lost Hammer spring is the most extreme subzero and salty environment we've found," said researcher Lyle Whyte, a microbiologist Canada's McGill University.

In fact, the temperatures in this part of Canada are even harsher than those found in many places on Mars.

"There are places on Mars where the temperature reaches relatively warm -10 to 0 degrees and perhaps even above 0şC," Whyte said, "and on Axel Heiberg it gets down to -50, easy."

And recent data suggests Mars also has methane and frozen water.

"If you have a situation where you have very cold salty water, it could potentially support a microbial community, even in that extreme harsh environment."

The discovery is detailed in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 04:58 AM   #130
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Nice demonstration of possibly the most fascinating Space Exploration mission to take place, if we're lucky, within 35 years.
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Old June 10th, 2010, 12:05 AM   #131
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Too awesome for words.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 12:31 PM   #132
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Aborigines to view Japanese spacecraft on landing

SYDNEY — Australian Aborigines will be among the first to view a Japanese space probe after it crashes to Earth in the outback this weekend, to ensure it does not affect sacred sites, officials said Friday.

In a nod from the space age to an ancient era, traditional Aboriginal land owners will travel with Japanese, Australian and US officials to view the asteroid-chasing Hayabusa capsule after it lands in South Australia early on Monday.

"Indigenous people will accompany the retrieval team in a helicopter to conduct an aerial view of the landing site... to ensure that no inadvertent damage is caused during the ground retrieval process," a spokeswoman for the Australian Defence Force told AFP.

Scientists hope the Japanese craft -- which has been hit by technical delays -- has managed to gather the first ever fragments from a moving asteroid, material which could reveal vital clues about the Universe.

The Hayabusa will flash over the Australian desert, lighting up brighter than Venus as it breaks up and incinerates as it returns to Earth, after releasing a canister containing the hoped-for samples.

It is due to touch down in the remote Woomera Prohibited Area (WPA), a 127,000 square kilometre (12.7 million hectare) military zone in the state of South Australia which is home to some sacred indigenous sites.

The defence department said it was "highly unlikely" the 18-kilogram (40-pound) basketball sized probe, which has completed a seven-year, five-billion-kilometre (three-billion-mile) journey, will hit a sensitive area.

"However, every reasonable step will be taken by the ground retrieval party to avoid driving over sacred sites," defence spokeswoman Flight Lieutenant Melody Earl said.

The Japan space agency JAXA's Hayabusa ("peregrine falcon") is expected to be the first space mission to have made physical contact with an asteroid and returned to Earth, although it is not known how much material it has retrieved.

The Hayabusa space mission for Itokawa, an asteroid 300 million kilometres from Earth, began in May 2003 and two years later it became the first spacecraft to land on and lift off a celestial body other than the moon.

JAXA has said Hayabusa's on-board devices indicate Itokawa's parent body was formed in the solar system's embryonic stages.

"It's a primitive celestial body that contains elements of an ancient era,' JAXA said. "It was born between several tens of millions and hundreds of millions of years ago."

Australian Aborigines are believed to be the custodians of the oldest continuous culture on the planet, with a history which stretches back more than 40,000 years.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp...8Z1IH8rute4XaA

Environment and space tech to see big jumps in coming decades: expert survey

An artist's impression of a future lunar station. (Courtesy of JAXA)

The National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP) has announced a list of new technologies that it expects to be realized in the next 30 years, based on the findings and recommendations of experts from universities and corporations.

The results, released June 10, show that the majority of progress is expected to take place in the fields of environmental technology and space exploration.

In conducting the study, 12 sub-committees comprised of 135 experts from various fields produced a list of 832 technological challenges that need to be resolved, and some 2,900 experts gave responses on what they believed would be realized by the year 2040. NISTEP has conducted such surveys every five years since 1971, and the latest is the ninth such survey.

In light of global warming, respondents showed a significant interest in environment and energy technology, as well as information and communications technology. A shift is predicted in people's values, forecasting that by 2024, the majority of cars will no longer be owned individually but will be leased or shared instead. However, the study reached a pessimistic conclusion concerning the international community's commitment to solving global warming, saying only that "a plan toward a 50-percent cut in greenhouse gases that includes developing nations will be drafted" in the year 2025.

In the field of space exploration, experts predict that space travel will become commonplace in 2031, with a manned lunar base becoming a reality in 2040.

Asked with which countries Japan should forge strong ties for technological development, an increasing number of respondents added China in addition to the U.S. and European nations, which have generally been named in the past. Responses concerning technological progress and environmental problems reflect the significance experts are increasingly placing on China.

In the survey, some predicted that in 2033 there will be a technology that, in dealing with policy proposals and institutional design, can run detailed analyses on their social significance and domestic and international effects, as well as grasp their flaws. Previous Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama's promise to "do politics scientifically" may have been over two decades ahead of his time.

In the latest survey, experts predicted that the technology needed to dismantle nuclear power plants, the widespread adoption of housework and caretaking robots, and the field of earthquake prediction will take a few more years than was predicted in the previous survey.

http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/natio...=Google+Reader
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Old June 12th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #133
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Its impractical now, but won't be so in 70 years.
it will be still impractical, look let's say you have space hauler and each time you land on earth you can bring down 100 tons*, from 100t of raw minerals let's say you can have 50 tons of product, so why not send factory into orbit, and transport down only product and all rest of garbage send into sun? its more efficient that way.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 03:32 PM   #134
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Nice demonstration of possibly the most fascinating Space Exploration mission to take place, if we're lucky, within 35 years.
Cool!! 35 years wtf?? We have money to do that now!!
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Old June 12th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #135
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it will be still impractical, look let's say you have space hauler and each time you land on earth you can bring down 100 tons*, from 100t of raw minerals let's say you can have 50 tons of product, so why not send factory into orbit, and transport down only product and all rest of garbage send into sun? its more efficient that way.
I suppose you have a point there, but the world in 2070 is going to be so different that it's like 17th century people discussing gps navigation maybe we'll have the space elevator by then or those raw materials will not be used in our traditional sense.
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Old June 18th, 2010, 01:19 PM   #136
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IKAROS space sail photographed

Japan's solar-powered spacecraft IKAROS has been successfully photographed with its open silver space sail, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said Wednesday.

The 14-meter-square sail has ultrathin solar cells on film measuring 0.0075 millimeter thick. The cells trap sunlight to generate electricity to power its space flight while at the same time the craft uses photon propulsion. On one side of the film is vapor-deposited aluminum that reflects sunlight, which thus propels the craft.

The photo was taken by one of several free-floating cameras deployed from the spacecraft after the sail was unfurled earlier this month.

The craft, dubbed the Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation of the Sun, was launched May 21.

JAXA hopes to apply technology developed with the IKAROS for a mission to Jupiter within a decade.

http://www.asahi.com/english/TKY201006160414.html
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Old June 18th, 2010, 04:34 PM   #137
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The ability to unfurl thin-film PV's at that scale looks like a more important achievement than solar sailing. Although, the obvious problems is their relatively low conversion efficiency... One could join this up with ion or even VASIMR thrusters and use the sails for fuel-less maneuvering.
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Old June 18th, 2010, 04:41 PM   #138
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How many of you fear that with America's lack of support for science and education, they are falling into a new dark age, and the Eurozone, India and China will be our only hopes?
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Old June 18th, 2010, 05:11 PM   #139
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NASA has experienced a setback with Obama's administration but it's still incomparable in terms of space exploration with the rest of the world combined several times over... however, as years go by, ESA and JSA will make extremely significant contributions to the space exploration as well.
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Old June 18th, 2010, 05:13 PM   #140
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Japan sending humanoid robot to the moon by 2015



In an ambitious new project unveiled on April 27, an Osaka-area business group has vowed to put a humanoid robot on the moon by 2015.

The business group, known as SOHLA (Space Oriented Higashiosaka Leading Association), made headlines in January 2009 after their Maido-1 lightning observation microsatellite was launched into orbit. Their new project is to develop a bipedal humanoid robot — named “Maido-kun” — which can function in the harsh lunar environment. If all goes as planned, Maido-kun will be ready to travel to the moon in 2015.

SOHLA admits there are a number of obstacles to overcome — most notably the astronomical development costs (now estimated at 1 billion yen, or $10.5 million) — but they are optimistic about their pursuit and believe it can help stimulate the local economy by getting small and medium sized manufacturers involved in the development of space technology. At present, SOHLA consists of six local enterprises working in partnership with government-affiliated organizations such as the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

In 2005, JAXA announced bold plans to send bipedal humanoid robots to the moon. However, after recognizing the numerous difficulties that the lunar landscape poses for two-legged humanoids, they decided it would be more feasible to send wheeled robots instead.

Wheels may be more practical than legs, but SOHLA board member Noriyuki Yoshida sees an advantage in robots that look like people. “Humanoid robots are glamorous, and they tend to get people fired up,” he says. “We hope to develop a charming robot to fulfill the dream of going to space.”

JAXA plans to send their first robot rover to the moon in or around 2015, and SOHLA hopes their Maido-kun humanoid will be able to hitch a ride on the same mission.
http://pinktentacle.com/2010/04/maid...-moon-in-2015/
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