NASA Wants To Send Robot To Moon

Money is tight in the federal government, so the Obama administration nixed a proposed $150 billion manned NASA flight back to the Moon. The backup plan: A robot who’s willing to make the trip for $450 million.

The New York Times reports the robo-Neil Armstrong mission will send a C-3PO looking humanoid Skynet Terminator to the Moon, where it might just begin planning to build more of its kind and plan an invasion of our planet.

Dubbed Project M, the initiative has cost $9 million so far. The original hopes were to get robotic feet on the Moon by 2012, but the date is now up in the air, as plan hasn’t yet been given the green light.

Does the robot idea sound cool to you? What would you like NASA’s next big exploration mission to be?

NASA’s Quest to Send a Robot to the Moon [New York Times]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Charles256 says:

    Not ambitious enough. I want to know why I’m not on Mars yet with a colony dang it.

    • DevsAdvocate says:

      Apparently, “Yes We Can” only applies to earth-based endeavors. Fly to the moon or Mars? “No We Can’t”

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Apparently issues concerning space travel are still up in the air ;3

      • Verdant Pine Trees says:

        Actually, McCain also said he would slash NASA’s budget if he got in.

        Blame Bush for the unfunded program to Mars (which, if we could have actually done it, I would have been all for!)

    • jessjj347 says:

      I was talking to someone who works on robots and space stuff and he was saying that the space industry (?) is paranoid about making things automated (like using robots) because they want extreme control over working on things in space, e.g. satellites. Which is all to say, things like this don’t seem to happen too often although they could.

    • SonarTech52 says:

      You can experience Mars now, without leaving earth! Visit Rekall!

  2. George4478 says:

    I’d been wondering what Keannu Reeves had been doing lately…

  3. yusefyk says:

    Wow I thought it said rabbit and was really excited… space moon rabbits.

  4. DevsAdvocate says:

    Thanks President Barry for cancelling NASA’s manned spaceflight. Now we gotta hitch rides with the Russians, and all the kapusta they eat does not make for pleasant smells.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      I never thought I would see the word kapusta here, especially before 10 o’clock. Thanks for giving me a much needed chuckle (anyone hungry for Рубец?)

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Bush cancelled the space shuttle, so please kindly get that straight. I am very very upset that he nixed the moon missions though. Considering only 17 people have ever been up there, we kind of need to send more!

      • DWMILLER says:

        We definitly need to send more people(one way) to the moon!

      • DevsAdvocate says:

        The space shuttles were crap anyways. Too expensive for what they were used for, and never met expectations.

        Project Constellation, the Orion Spacecraft, Ares I and V are our best bet. Yet much of that was cancelled by Ol’ Barry…. despite his claims to want to land on an Asteroid soon… WELL? HOW ARE WE GONNA LAND ON IT WHEN THE TECHNOLOGY NEEDED IS CANCELLED?!

  5. obits3 says:

    But if we don’t send a man to the moon, the terrorist win!

    • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

      I feel that somehow you should have worked spiral power or drills into your comment.

      An opportunity lost. :P

      • obits3 says:

        LOL, I’ll have to remember that next time ;) I haven’t watched that much anime in a long time, but I still watch Gurren Lagann. It pumps me up about life every time!

        “The tomorrow we’re trying to grab for ourselves is not the tomorrow you set up for us, its the tomorrow that we chose for ourselves, a tomorrow that we chose out of all the infinite universes, we’ll fight our way through and protect the universe, we’ll stop the spiral nemisis too!”

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:


      Do we have strong evidence to suggest terrorist insurgents are building WMDs on the moon?

      That’ll get us there! :D

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    If we could get rid of the pork in government spending then man will be able to explore and accomplish great things and not only in space exploration but in medicine, sciences, teaching, etc.

    • deejmer says:

      One man’s pork is another man’s space program. We cant ‘cut pork’ everywhere AND cut taxes like the teabaggers and repubicans keep ramming down our throats. Everyone wants good schools, protection, soc security and space shuttles, but no one wants to pay for it.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        The pork I’m talking about is things like the bridge to nowhere and the $100,000,000 5 year study that concluded that most people who jump in front of speeding trains tend to lose their lives.

        As a side note, when I first saw your avatar, I thought it was a young Gilligan.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        I think we could go a long way to cut the pork no one hears about – how much money do you think these guys simply pocket for themselves, their friends, and their relatives?

        Term limits for senators and congress-creeps! None of them should be fucking dying of old age in office. Do you really think these rich geesers can identify with what’s going on right now?
        They can’t even fucking type!

  7. Sian says:

    only because they’re not telling the poor robot there’s no return trip. Poor robot. q.q

  8. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    “We choose not to go to the moon in this decade and do other things, not because they are costly, but because we are cheap.”

  9. McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

    I hate to say this, but I don’t think hot air balloons will get that robot over that rainbow, let alone the moon.

  10. DanRydell says:

    What’s this about “back” to the moon? Are they going to use the same soundstage as last time? Or are they actually going to the moon this time?

    Typical Phil article, full of inaccuracy.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      And then they filmed Capricorn One to throw people off the scent.

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        One of O.J’s finest performances. If he didn’t convince the jury with the whole glove thing, he only had to point toward his insufficient acting ability to go along with any made up defense.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      Please, please tell me this was a joke. Please.

      If it’s not, you need to advocate for 100% tax rates, since any government capable of the level of coordination and execution necessary to fake a moon landing and then maintain the fiction for this long is far, far more effective than any other private organization around, and should have full control over our lives.

      • DanRydell says:

        Oh come on, do you REALLY think we were capable of landing men on the moon AND bringing them back in 1969? Next you’re going to tell me that the WTC 1 and 2 were brought down by airliners and not explosives placed by the government.

        • DanRydell says:

          That is to say, yes it was a joke.

          Unless the government killed everyone involved in the fake moon land and replaced them with lifelike robots, then killed the guys who designed and built the robots and replaced THEM with mannequins.

  11. reds97 says:

    maybe they should send nasa into the banks… they can really explore the unknown.

  12. crazydavythe1st says:

    I thought the whole point of cancelling the flight to the moon and scrapping the space shuttle was to avoid spending money on going to the moon, since we’ve kinda been there and done that. $450 million is a drop in the bucket compared to $150 billion and makes perfect sense.

    Besides, this is one area where leaving work to the private sector may not have disastrous results. In fact, hyperbole aside – this seems like the perfect time to let the private sector do its thing. Let companies like Virgin Galactic find ways to the moon and let NASA find ways to Mars.

    Seriously, I want to see a man or woman on Mars someday. Make it freakin’ happen.

    • Rachacha says:

      Many experts believe that the most efficient way to get to Mars is from a base established on the moon (where you are nearly free of Earth’s gravitational field. If you believe those experts, having NASA go to the Moon again is a logical first step at getting to Mars.

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        I couldn’t figure out if this idea was a logical progression from a “let’s take baby steps” perspective or a logistics perspective. Everything I’ve seen kind of suggests the former. Admittedly, I haven’t looked that much into it…

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        nevermind, I guess you sort of covered it with the whole “escaping Earth’s gravity” thing.

  13. NeverLetMeDown says:

    For all the humor, this actually makes a lot of sense. Fundamentally, the bang (in terms of what we learn) for the buck of human exploration just doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’d be much better off focusing on robotic exploration, and taking the rest of the money and working on human/robot (or human/computer) interface. If the goal is, fifty years down the line, to have people living on Mars (for example), it may well be more feasible (given tech trends) to have those “people” be human consciousness in inorganic form, than actually moving flesh and blood people (with all their need for oxygen, vulnerability to cold, etc etc.

  14. ThaKoolAidKid says:

    I never understood this push for Mars over the Moon. The Moon is 3 days travel away, based on ’60’s and ’70’s technology. It stands to reason that the trip could be shortened to two days. Which makes it much easier to plan for emergencies, supply drops, and any possible rescue missions. Astronauts would also be within quick radio communication of a delay not more than a minute.

    Yet Mars is six months away. Making any rescue, emergency plan, or supply drops exponentially harder if not impossible. Also because of the vast distance needed to go there would have to be much more planning in possible routes to avoid any objects that may damage the craft. There is also the communication barrier of several hours for a message to go back in forth.

    Mars seems like great ambition, but why not colonize our little brother first? Gives a good testing environment and is more realistic for scientific and commercial ventures.

  15. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Wow, NASA is only 3 years behind Google with their X Prize. It’s the future!

  16. chaesar says:

    Well I’m glad we were able to convince a robot to take on this heroic duty. Hopefully it doesn’t go HAL9000 and crash into Three Mile Island as revenge.

  17. leprechaunshawn says:

    How about neither. What’s the real point in going to space anyways?

    • B* says:

      To waste money and distract us while politicians destroy the planet we already live on.

    • Oddfool says:

      To answer your question, I’ve always been fond of this quote from Babylon 5:

      “No. We have to stay here and there’s a simple reason why. Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you’ll get ten different answers, but there’s one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won’t just take us. It’ll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars.”
      Sinclair, Infection

  18. Murbob says:

    Going to the moon is a waste of time and money.

    Send the robot to Europa where it might actually find something interesting like a life form.

  19. Macgyver says:

    Why send a robot, the reason for space travel, is to explore. With a robot, there is no exploration.

    Instead of sending people to the moon, why don’t we work on hyperdrive technology and work on interstellar travel, and build something like the Daedalus, and explore other universes.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      Lots of theories, but nobody’s investing:

      ~Alcubierre wave (“Make it so, Number One.”)
      ~Magnetic Induction Engines (“My fillings hurt…”)
      ~Tachyon Radio (“We get signal. Main screen turn on.”)
      ~Traversable Wormholes

      List goes on. :P

    • Foot_Note says:

      but the goverment is hiding the Stargate Program already!

    • kingofmars says:

      Sending a robot makes sense, because we live in the real world, not a sci-fi fantasy. I don’t think it’s worth an extra 149.55 billion so that an actual human being sees the moon with his own eyes. All measurements will be made with so sort of machine or instrument anyway, so why bother witha human.
      If it makes you feel better, a machine on the moon may increase interest in the space program.

  20. xamarshahx says:

    Even though private industry doesn’t always do well with everything (health care), this is one spot where they can probably do 10 times better then NASA. NASA just seems to waste money without any real results. 40 years after a moon landing we should have been on Mars by now.

    • MuffinSangria says:

      We are not on Mars because they keep having their budget cut, which is why the moon landings stopped.

      No real results? Say that next time you need an MRI or CAT scan. The next time a smoke detector warns you of fire in time to exit safely. The next time you or your family are in a fire and the firemen are able to save you because their clothes can withstand the heat and they have O2 tanks “light” enough to carry. The next time you are able to drink clean water. The next time you need laser eye surgery to see clearly. That is just a very small percentage of the “results” NASA has had that contribute to your everyday life. Do you really think private business would share this technology at a reasonable cost?

  21. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    GM is in on this, huh? I guess that explains (at least in part) why they probably won’t be able to repay the $50 billion they took from [unwilling] taxpayers.

  22. ShruggingGalt says:

    So, we’re going to send a robot to the moon, but send humans on a one-way trip to Mars and never bring them back???

    What is this, 1962 again?

  23. Dr.Wang says:

    I would rather see them develop and implement a cheap single-use rocket system for putting payloads into space or people/cargo to the ISS. Something cheap and very reliable. And something not reusable.

  24. MaytagRepairman says:

    Maybe NASA should just contract the robot out to Honda.

  25. sp00nix says:

    I’ll do it for $30 and a case of beer

  26. ElizabethD says:

    Star Wars geeks, unite to protest NASA’s naming a C3PO-like robot “R2”!

    “How perverse!” –(Threepio voice)