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A walking robot on the moon?

world Updated: May 04, 2010 16:38 IST

A walking robot on the moon? Well, it could someday be a reality -- thanks to a group of Japanese companies which is actually planning to land a humanoid robot on the Earth's satellite by 2015.

According to the 'New Scientist', the ambitious plan was announced last week by a small cooperative of companies in
Osaka called Astro-Technology SOHLA, which launched a small satellite called Maido-1 to study lightning in January 2009.

The group hopes that its robot, dubbed Maido-kun, could hitch a ride to the moon with a robotic mission set to be launched by the Japanese space agency JAXA in about five years, the magazine quoted a Japanese media report as saying.

In fact, the 'Daily Yomiuri' newspaper said that JAXA had previously opted against sending a bipedal robot to the moon because its footing would not be steady on the sandy lunar surface.

But SOHLA president Hideo Sugimoto countered that a walking robot would be more inspiring than a wheeled rover, adding that Maido-kun would draw the Japanese flag on the moon's surface.

"We decided on a human-like robot because it's more fascinating and stimulating for us. We'll make an attractive robot to carry our dreams to the universe," Sugimoto was quoted as saying.