London: NASA has unveiled a plan to send a humanoid robot to the Moon in just 1,000 days for a fraction of the cost of sending a human.
The plan would cost less than 200million dollars, plus 250million dollars for the rocket, substantially less than the 150billion dollars it would be to send an astronaut.
Project M has been considered a ‘guerrilla effort’ by NASA engineers due to the lack of official enthusiasm for returning to the Moon. In one case an engineer even went to a hardware store to buy 80 dollars worth of materials to enable him to test the fuel tank on a prototype aircraft.
The team realized that sending a robot to the Moon is far easier than sending a person - it does not need air or food and there is no return trip. Robonaut 2, developed by NASA and General Motors, will be on board the shuttle Discovery, which is due to liftoff today.
The only drawback seems to be that the robot’s capabilities will be limited compared to what a human can do.
R. Matthew Ondler, Project M’s manager, said that the thousand day deadline was chosen to add some pressure.
“It creates this sense of urgency. NASA is at its best when it has a short time to figure out things,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
“You give us six or seven years to think about something, and we’re not so good. Administrations change and priorities of the country change, and so it’s hard to sustain things for that long,” he added.