The UK's first-ever moon mission will launch into space in 2021 in a step to explore the secrets of the lunar surface. The tiny spider-like robot will be the world's smallest robotic moon rover which will walk across the moon to capture photographs and collect data. The robot was developed by London based start-up Spacebit. The robot forms a part of a collaborative mission with US company Astrobotic. If the mission is successful, the UK will become the fourth country to put a rover on the moon after Russia, the US and China. A recent attempt by a private Israeli company ended in disaster when the lander crashed on the surface. The Spacebit founder Pavlo Tanasyuk said that their goal is to reach there and explore what is available there.
Astrobotic was awarded millions of dollars to carry up to 14 NASA instruments to the moon as well as 14 payloads from other partners. SpaceBit will be one of those accomplices, sending the rover to the surface inside Astrobotic's Peregrine lander. The Spacebit rover weighs around 1.5 kg and is fitted with four legs to crawl over the moon's surface in order to collect data. The data will be reverted back to Astrobotic’s lander before being transmitted to Earth.
Tanasyuk added that unlike rovers with wheels or tracks this robot along with four legs would provide a better opportunity to explore the lunar surface. It is equipped with good quality cameras that can click pictures and selfies and also a range of sensors to gather data. Spacebit hopes that because of small size and tiny legs the robotic device can successfully be able to explore the moon's lunar lava tubes. These are subsurface tunnels, believed to have been formed by ancient balsatic lava flows. Tanasyuk also added that the robot will spend 10 days on the moon before freezing forever.
(with inputs from agencies)