NASA's Moon Pit Robots
|Source: Carnegie Mellon Moon Rover Andy|
Potential Shelter for Astronauts & Valuable Resources
NASA has provided a $2 million grant to roboticists at Carnegie Mellon University to invent specialized, agile robots to investigate pits similar to sink holes on the Moon. The purpose is twofold: determine if they contain valuable resources such as minerals and evaluate if they could be used as shelter for astronauts. This is part of NASA's Artemis mission to return humans to the Moon by 2024.
Craters vs. Pits
Craters are formed by impacts such as asteroids smashing into the lunar surface. Pits are formed when the Moon's surface collapses. Some experts believe there could be huge caverns under the pits, which could potentially shield astronauts from radiation.
Highly Dangerous Mission
NASA believes the pit exploration is too dangerous for humans to perform because NASA doesn't know what the pits contain. To date, the pits have been observed by NASA from a distance in space. That's why NASA has ordered the specialized team of lunar robots for the mission to get inside the moon pits and evaluate what they contain.