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2022-04-04 09:28:27 Space
Mexico to launch a swarm of micro-robots to the moon this year

A research team led by Dr Gustavo Medina Tanco from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) will launch five micro-robots on board the Peregrine Lunar Lander landing module this year.

The project is supported by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mexican Space Agency and the State of Hidalgo. It will be the first Mexican mission to the Moon.

The COLMENA project, which translates to "beehive", involves a self-organised swarm of five robots, each weighing less than 60 grams and measuring just 12 centimetres in diameter. All of the mechanisms will be equipped with a small solar panel.

Inside the robots is also a single flexible circuit board containing air-conditioning, control, communication, monitoring, shutdown, grounding and connectivity subsystems.

The micro-robots will move autonomously to provide electrical communication. In addition, the small mechanisms are capable of interconnecting to make a large solar panel. During the mission, the robots will also make the first-ever measurements of lunar plasma temperature, electromagnetic field and regolith particle size.

The robots have already been installed on the Peregrine Lunar Lander, which will be the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Apollo programme.

The module will be launched on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket and will travel 384,400 kilometres from Earth to the Moon. In addition, a Mars rover built by Carnegie Mellon University will be on board. The landing module is scheduled to take off in June.

The project will ultimately demonstrate whether it is possible to build structures on planetary surfaces using swarms of robots.


Author: ridus




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