Mexico to Send 5 Mini-Robots to Moon for Soil Exploration, Scientists Say
08:07 GMT 02.02.2022 (Updated: 08:36 GMT 02.02.2022)
MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - Mexican scientists announced the launch of the first mission of autonomous mini-robots to the moon in June 2022 as part of the Colmena project aimed at exploring minerals in space.
"Taking nature as an example, Colmena will show that very small robots can operate both as researchers and miners when coordinated," Gustavo Medina Tanco, head of the laboratory of space instrumentation at the Institute for Nuclear Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said presenting the project.
The first mission of the Colmena project involves five robots weighing less than 0.1 pounds each, with a diameter of 4.7 inches. A distinctive feature of these mini-robots is the positioning of all electronic devices in 0.8 inches directly above the soil. They are expected to independently perform coordinated functions and work on the surfaces of non-atmospheric space bodies, with the mission lasting about 13 terrestrial days or one lunar day.
The robots have already been delivered to the United States and installed on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander spacecraft. The launch of the spaceship is scheduled for June.
UNAM's Colmena project started its operation in 2016 aiming to study the potential of mini-robots working in space and the possibilities of their self-organization, as well as the potential of mining rare earth metals on asteroids.