Researchers at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the University of Bremen have created a new robot optimized for lunar colonization. Meet iStruct, the lunar robot. The ape-like bot is designed for stability while traversing the moon’s hilly, rocky terrain. Unlike wheeled robots, the iStruct is also designed to have mobility devices that double as graspers and grabbers for manipulating objects. According to the researchers behind the project, the idea is to create “biologically inspired intelligent structural components”–basically a robot with physical capabilities that mimic those of a human.
NASA has also experimented with similar concepts in exoskeletons, and there is always the powerful subconscious persistence of the Planet of the Apes series among scientists. Will robots replace human astronauts in future missions? Who knows? But maybe the lunar landscape is better suited for monkeybots than it is for us.