US company Astrobotic Technology and researchers at Carnegie Mellon university have presented their design for a small lunar robot. The robot will help prepare NASA's lunar outpost, which is set to begin operations in 2020.
NASA's lunar mission is faced with the challenge of simultaneously ensuring a short distance for cargo transfer between the landing pad and the outpost while ensuring the outpost's safety from flying lunar dirt and rocks propelled by rockets landing and taking off on the pad.
The newly designed robot weighs about 150 kg and has the size of a riding mower. It will be able to move 1300 tons of dirt on the moon to construct a 3m high, semi-circular berm protecting the lunar outpost.