October 10, 2019 in London, as part of the New Scientist Live science festival, Pavlo Tanasyuk, the founder and head of Spacebit, shared his company’s plans for sending a lander to the moon, which will deliver a miniature walking robot there. If successful, this robot will be the first device to use mechanical limbs instead of wheels to move on the surface of other cosmic bodies; in addition, the same robot will be the smallest of devices ever launched to the surface of the Moon.
Also, if the mission is successful, the Spacebit Walking Rover will be the first private device to reach the surface of the moon. In addition, this event will make Britain the fourth country in the world, together with the USA, Russia and China, which have successfully completed missions to reach the lunar surface. According to available information, the robot will be delivered to the moon using the Astrobotic’s Peregrine lander descent module, which is scheduled to be sent into space using the Vulcan Centaur rocket launched from the cosmodrome at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA in 2021.
The Walking Rover will weigh a little less than 1.3 kilograms and be powered by the energy of sunlight. According to calculations, two small solar panels will be enough to provide the robot with energy during its entire mission, which is designed for 10 days.
Small gravity on the lunar surface will allow the Walking Rover to move fast enough and make sufficiently long jumps, overcoming obstacles. The robot will feel the environment with the help of several sensors, including a three-dimensional laser scanner LIDAR, and two HD-cameras, which will also be used for shooting the lunar surface and taking selfie pictures. In addition, the ability to move will allow the robot to fulfill its main task – to conduct the first direct studies of lava “pipes” that come to the surface from the depths of the moon.
“Now we need to study the environment and explore the available resources on other planets,” Tanasyuk says. “This will allow us to ensure the stability of humanity on Earth in the future.”