An Osaka based business group has vowed to put a humanoid robot on the moon by 2015.
The business group, known as SOHLA (Space Oriented Higashiosaka Leading Association), plans to develop a bipedal humanoid robot – named Maido-kun – which can function in the harsh lunar environment.
In 2005, government affiliated JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) announced bold plans to send bipedal humanoid robots to the moon.
However, after recognizing the numerous difficulties that the lunar landscape poses for two-legged humanoids, JAXA decided it would be more feasible to send wheeled robots instead.
Wheels may be more practical than legs, but SOHLA board member Noriyuki Yoshida sees an advantage in robots that look like people. “Humanoid robots are glamorous, and they tend to get people fired up,” he says. “We hope to develop a charming robot to fulfill the dream of going to space.”
JAXA plans to send their first robot rover to the moon in or around 2015, and SOHLA hopes their Maido-kun humanoid will be able to hitch a ride on the same mission.