Credit: ispace, Inc.

 

Innovative Moon robots geared to work in lunar environments — such as the depths of icy craters and inside lunar caves – is a pursuit of ispace, inc. of Tokyo, Japan.

As a private lunar robotic exploration company, ispace has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to jointly create a roadmap for lunar resource development.

That roadmap stretches from 2017 to 2030, according to the ispace website.

Mining, delivery and utilization

Under this agreement, both parties will utilize their knowledge and network to develop plans and frameworks for creating an industry around lunar resource mining, delivery and utilization.

“We are developing micro-robotic technology,” the company explains, “to provide a low-cost and frequent transportation service to and on the Moon, conduct lunar surface exploration to map, process and deliver resources to our customers in cislunar space.”

Swarm robotics for Moon exploration.
Credit: ispace, Inc.

2017 HAKUTO rover

The group currently manages the Google Lunar XPRIZE team, HAKUTO. Next year the company intends to send that rover to the Moon to demonstrate its micro-robotic technology for lunar exploration in an attempt to win a $20 million purse.

Credit: ispace, Inc.

In the next decade, ispace plans to establish a high-frequency transportation service to the Moon and conduct exploration missions to map lunar resources. In the long term, the company plans to deliver extracted and processed resources to customers on and around the Moon.

 

Three-step roadmap

In a press statement, Takeshi Hakamada, the founder and CEO of ispace, explained: “We think it is important to actively participate in the rule-making and commercialization while we are technologically competitive globally with our HAKUTO project.”

Google Lunar XPRIZE team, HAKUTO moon rover plans for 2017.
Credit: ispace/HAKUTO team

In the newly-signed agreement, ispace and JAXA will consider the following three points in creating a lunar resource development industry:

— A comprehensive plan for the space resource industry including necessary technologies and industrial value chains involving lunar resource mapping (including positions, compositions, characteristics), mining, storage, delivery, sales and utilization in space.

— Role allocation between public and private sectors for R&D activities and public procurement, as well as building of a national and an international framework needed for industry creation.

— Considerations for other necessary actions, including the expansion of relevant consortiums.

 

 

 

 

For more information on ispace, go to this informative video at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cMEJTnPq-I

For a video on HAKUTO, go to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZjL5l4ji0Q

For an ispace “site visit,” go to: http://ispace-inc.com/

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