16 | DIC | 2019
UNAM to send 9 microrobots to the moon in 2021
The mission is scheduled for July 2021 – Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

UNAM to send 9 microrobots to the moon in 2021

Mexico City
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The robots will navigate the lunar surface and form a solar panel

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On Monday, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the highest house of studies in the country, informed that by mid-2021, it will set nine microrobots in the moon’s surface as part of the COLMENA mission, developed by the Nuclear Sciences Institute (ICN).

The launch, which is expected to be scheduled for July 2021, will be in charge of the private American country Astrobotic, which will also take to the moon experiments of the NASA and other countries.

It is intended that the robots, of 8 centimeters in diameter and 4 centimeters tall, browse randomly and independently in the natural satellite until finding each other in a swarm that will be connected electrically and will form a solar panel.

The load of COLMENA will have a module of telecommunications, telemetry, and launching, made in the Space Instrumentation Laboratory (LINX) of the ICN, with support from the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), the Science and Technology National Council (Conacyt), and some tech companies.

The researcher of the ICN, Gustavo Medina Tanco, said that the teams will take measurements of regolith dust, a very fine radioactive cloud charged electrically that damages technology since, by not having atmospheres or their own magnetic fields, asteroids and moons are full of it.

Medina explained that the objective of survival of the robots is a feat because group tasks will have to face “meteorite bombing and of high energy particles of solar wind.”

“This mission is also an opportunity to create human resources in the space sector,” said the academic.


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UNAM was proud that high school to Ph.D. students from this institution have participated in the design, building, and validation of COLMENA.

Astrobotic Technology is a private company that is developing space robotics technology for lunar and planetary missions. It was founded in 2008 by Red Whittaker of Carnegie Mellon and his associates, with the objective of winning the Google Lunar X Award.

With the lunar vehicle “Peregrine,” it intends to deliver useful loads for companies, governments, NGOs, and universities while developing navigation technology related to land, mobile robotics for operations in the lunar surface, and reliable computer systems for mission-critical applications.


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