What does an country with moon aspirations do when its rival outnumbers it 10 to 1? Send in the robots of course! It looks as if the Japanese are seriously considering leveraging their silicon friends in order to make lunar life more habitable.
(Times Online) But by 2020, Japan predicts, humanoid robots will be ready to colonise the Moon. [...]
The group's remit was to draft a five-year plan on the development and exploitation of space - a programme for action that was initially to have included the goal of putting a human Japanese astronaut on the Moon within the next 20 years. In the latest plans, though, robots have inherited the prime position in Japan's first – and still unconstructed – lunar lander. Experts have been arguing for years that the country’s aim should be to develop humanoid robots to the point where they are capable of everything people can do, and more.
Unless Japan desires to create Cylons (or worse, Terminators) they may want to refocus their efforts on beefing up their own citizens for the lunar stroll.
Although robots would give the land of the rising sun an early advantage against China, it may also devalue their claims of ownership over certain lunar real estate (as a country would have to have a very good reason for injuring a human as opposed to destroying a machine).
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