Stephen J. Altemus, chief engineer at Johnson Space Centre in Houston wants to send a robot to the moon. The Project M is being considered a guerrilla effort as there has been no official enthusiasm for it.
The NASA engineers hope to send a robot to the moon in just 1,000 days for a fraction of the cost of sending a man to the moon. It would have cost $150 billion to send astronauts back to the moon, but will cost just $200 million to launch the robot onto the moon.
However going has been tough with the chief engineer having to tap into discretionary money, and horse trading with companies and NASA units to work on the project. NASA engineers have been working on the project part time and preliminary tests and planning are a work in progress.
A variation of the Robonaut 2 which is scheduled to leave on the Discovery Space Shuttle to do housekeeping chores on the International Space Station may be used in the project. Project M culminating in a humanoid robot walking on the moon is hoping to inspire the next generation of engineers as the Apollo Moon landing did 40 years ago.