The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hopes to build a moon base by using autonomous robots, according to Space.com.
The project is a collaboration between JAXA, a construction company called Kajima Corp., Shibaura Institute of Technology, The University of Electro-Communications and Kyoto University.
The group recently performed an experiment on automated construction at the Kajima Seisho Experiment Site in Odawara.
An autonomous backhoe went through its procedures, and operations that needed more fine handling were performed with a human by a remote control.
"[The backhoe] has been modified with onboard survey instruments and an automatic operation control console. The instruments that the tractor and backhoe are installed with autonomously measure [the backhoe's] position and direction ... making it both remotely and automatically operable," JAXA officials said. "The operational process has shown feasibility of the unmanned technologies to build a lunar base."
It would take about 2 seconds to communicate commands to the backhoe on the moon from Earth. The backhoe also has remote-control functions to compensate for delays in communication.
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