Mexican Robotics to Reach Lunar Surface in 2022By Emilio Aristegui | Mon, 01/31/2022 - 07:36
Mexico’s largest university UNAM prepares the mission “Hive” to reach the lunar surface, its latest space and robotics project. The mission will launch a set of microrobots to assemble a solar panel.
The Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transport (SICT) announced via the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) that a Mexican robotics technology is scheduled to reach the lunar surface in 2022. The project consists of a set of microrobots developed by experts from UNAM that will be launched to the moon, as Salvador Landeros Ayala, General Director, AEM.
“Since pre-Hispanic times, in-depth studies of the cosmos and the moon have already been carried out in our Mexico and now, with the “Hive” project, this national technology will make history by reaching our natural satellite, located more than 380,000 kilometers from Earth,” said Landeros.
The project consists of the work of over 200 students of engineering, physics, mathematics, actuarial science, chemistry, geology and psychology, among others, working at the ICN-UNAM Space Instrumentation Laboratory (LINX). Gustavo Medina Tanco led the project with support from the Mexican Space Agency and the National Council for Science of Technology and the State of Hidalgo.
“The microrobots, supported by a telecommunications module, will be deployed on the lunar surface, where they will navigate with some independence until they connect electronically with the programmed objective of assembling a solar panel that can generate energy,” explained the Mexican Space Agency via a press release.
UNAM reported in 2019 that the mission was scheduled for the summer of 2021 but the project was delayed by the 2020 pandemic and will take place in 2022, according to robotics company Astrobotic. Dan Hendrickson, Vice-President, Astrobotic, said that “Hive” was successfully integrated into the Peregrine Lunar Lander space vehicle in Pittsburgh, US.
“The mission will last one lunar day, that is, approximately 13 earth days. Each robot will work as an independent measurement center and will send the data for analysis. Most likely, once the mission is over, the robots will die; it will be about surviving and thus learning something more about engineering,” said UNAM’s expert Medina Tanco in a press release by the university.