Posted in | Atmospheric Robotics

Astrobotic Wins NASA’s Award to Develop a Moon Mining Robot

Astrobotic Technology has declared that it is one of the six global organizations to obtain NASA’s Phase II Small Business Innovation Research award for developing a robot to excavate water and methane ice from the poles of the moon.

This latest two year agreement worth $599,970 is NASA’s second contract under the Innovative Lunar Demonstration Data Program. The total worth of the contract is $10 million.

The most challenging task lies in developing a robot which can cope with the grip caused by one-sixth gravity of the moon and to carry out mining operations amidst frozen dirt of the moon. The company had reported that one of their solutions include a bucket-wheel excavator which is mounted crossways to the direction of movement. Its wheels will be pushed slightly along one side by means of the push-back effect of the mining operation.

Chris Skonieczny, Project Leader has stated that hauling bulky equipment to the moon is very expensive hence they will deploy a robot weighing 70 to 300 pounds for performing lunar excavation. He added that in addition to the oblique bucket-wheel, their design employs complex components enabling low-weight and swift driving for an increased output.

Source: http://www.astrobotic.net

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