Engineers at the University of Arizona received a grant from NASA to develop advanced ways to extract natural resources in space. This announcement was published on the university website.
Space researchers hope that established bases on various bodies in the solar system will become a reality within this decade. When launched from Earth, every kilogram counts, and therefore it will be much more profitable to use local resources when building bases.
A $ 500,000 grant, which the team led by Jekan Thanga and Mo Momayez, received, is intended to develop a swarm of autonomous robots for the Moon. These robots will work together to prospect, dig, extract minerals and even build.
To achieve this, the engineers plan to use a self-learning control system. It will not only teach robots to work together effectively during tests on Earth, but will also take into account the experience gained in solving real problems for further optimization. “In a way, we are like farmers. We plan to cultivate the talents of a whole family of these creatures for specific tasks,”says Jekan Thanga.
University students will also be able to observe the progress of development, or even participate.
Scientists emphasize that a swarm of autonomous robots will still not completely replace astronauts. It will only save them from hard and tedious work, give them the opportunity to focus on more important and complex tasks.