These Robotic Apes Could be Headed for the Moon

In the future, will mechanical chimpanzees mine for fuel in space?

Image courtesy of Daniel Kühn, DFKI

If like me, you see stories about sending robots into outer space and think to yourself, “needs more apes,” Charlie the moon-exploring robo-chimp should be just the thing to make your day. CNN reports that the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (known as DFKI in Germany) has modeled a robot design on the chimpanzee, betting that imitating the animal’s versatile range of movements will prove ideal for the wide range of tasks required on an unmanned lunar mission. The prototype is technically called the iStruct Demonstrator, but the scientists have nicknamed it “Charlie,” and are testing out its moon skills on artificial lunar craters in a lab.

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