posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 04:05 PM
Scientists in Shanghai are developing an atomic-powered lunar rover for China's first unmanned mission to the moon in 2012.
The as-yet unnamed six-wheeled lunar vehicle has been under development for four years at the Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute, where a
specialized testing laboratory has been outfitted to replicate the lunar surface, the Shanghai Daily reported.
The 1.5-meter (5-foot) high, 200-kilogram (440-pound) rover is designed to transmit video in real time, dig for and analyze soil samples, and produce
three dimensional images of the lunar surface, the paper said.
“We want to make it better than the early U.S. and Russian rovers,'' the institute's director, Luo Jian, was quoted as saying.
With an average speed of 100 meters (328 feet) per hour, it can negotiate inclines and has automatic sensors to prevent it from crashing into other
objects, the report said.
This is interesting, I am an advocate of further space exploration,
regardless of what country is doing it, so this is cool.
I'm sure there will be groups who will be vehemently against this in
other countries, because of the nuclear powered aspect.
I personally don't mind if it's nuclear powered, and indeed I think
it's actually a good development.
Plus, on the off chance something goes wrong, and the nuclear
generator detonates before it's in Space, it will be over an area that
is mostly uninhabited.