Difference between revisions of "Types of Robots"

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(Added Stone Mason)
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===Stone Mason===
===Stone Mason===
See [[Architecture as Stone Wall]].
See [[Architecture in Field Stone]].
*It is a car sized external robot who can:
*It is a car sized external robot who can:
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*It wants to:
*It wants to:
**Build walls
**Build walls

Revision as of 05:19, 30 August 2007

Sandworm, Side View

It is requested that a fork of this article be installed to Scientifiction.org.

What types of Robots will be used by lunar settlers?

A fully functioning lunar settlement will require a great many types of robots. Here are a few ideas.

This list is based on the mining settlement described in Harrison Schmitt's book, "Return to the Moon". It is also intended for use in developing robot characters in stories about lunar settlements.

Robot Types

The robots can be classified into different groups.

Exterior Robots

Robots for use outside of the human habitats must have many features to survive and work in the Moon's harsh environment.

  • Most are rover types
    • Wheeled base
    • Camera eyes on an upright
    • One or two arms
    • Multiple tools for hands
  • All outside robots wear protective coats to protect from dust and temperature
  • All robots are largely controlled from Earth
    • Called teleoperation
    • They are capable of autonomous operation
    • To address the communication delay
    • 384,401 km / 299,793 km/sec = 1.28 sec each way
    • This also requires that they can do minor tasks and keep themselves safe on their own
  • A combination of a robot and its Earth-side human operator may be story character
  • Some robots are safety buddies for all outside workers and tourists
  • A robot may be associated with an avatar
  • There will be no NG Star Trek Commander Data type robots for the foreseeable future!
  • What they want: (these are built into their programs)
    • Not to hurt people
    • Not to be damaged
    • Keep the He-3 production running

Interior Robots

Some robots live with people (where the living is easy) and clean house.

  • Most do routine jobs
    • Clean house and control dust
    • Disinfect against molds and bacteria
  • Most are rover types
    • Wheeled base
    • Camera eyes on an upright
    • One or two arms
    • Multiple tools for hands
  • All robots are largely controlled from Earth
    • Interior robots do more autonomous operation
    • Particularly routine tasks
  • Some robots are safety buddies for people inside like retirees
  • A robot may be associated with an avatar
  • What they want: (these are built into their programs)
    • Not to hurt people
    • Not to be damaged
    • Keep the settlement clean and healthy


Waldos are man/machine concoctions.

  • These are a combination spacesuit and robot
    • Controlled by person in spacesuit
  • They can be run from Earth if necessary
  • They augment the workers capabilities
  • They are very strong, but move slowly
  • They may have either legs or wheels
  • Waldos were made famous in the movie "Aliens"


Avatars are virtual beings existing only within the computer systems.

  • An Avatar is a computer generated persona that exists only in a computer or Personal electronic device
  • They appear on your computer screen
  • They talk to you
  • They do your virtual bidding
  • Many are game players
  • They may have a job
    • Teacher
    • Personal assistant - interface with computer system
  • They may look like:
    • People, pets, dinosaurs, etc
    • The Moon personified
  • Some are a dead person
    • This is controversial
    • some people think it make the computers feel haunted
  • Making one for a living person is unethical
  • They may just be a pet.
  • They have some artificial intelligence
  • They may be associated with one computer terminal or one robot
    • A ghost in the machine
  • They may move around between machines to follow a person
  • They give some people the creeps
  • They want:
    • Nothing

Specific Jobs for Robots

Most robots will have specific jobs:


All the great machines must be robots in themselves.

  • They are the big mining machines, called Sandworms
    • They harvest helium-3
    • They are huge
    • They are ugly
    • They have many moving parts
    • They crawl forward slowly processing regolith at the rate of tons per hours
  • One small sandworm digs trenches for new buildings
    • This was the first one built
    • It is 1/4 the size of the big ones
  • A small rover robot is permanently attends each Sandworm
  • What they want: (these are built into their programs)
    • Not to hurt a human
    • To harvest He-3
    • Keep itself in good repair

Construction and Production

  • Some robots are trucks with boom arms
  • Many may be cranes or other construction equipment
    • Can carry massive material, equipment, and a few people
  • Some fixed pieces of industrial equipment are robots too
    • These have many moving parts and may have arms

Sandbag Filler

It may be called "Sandbagger" after a type of Cold War spy.

  • It is a small external robot who can:
    • remove a bag from a dispenser
    • sift regolith to remove rocks
    • Fill the bag
    • Lift up the bag to settle the sand to the bottom
    • Seal the top
    • Transport the full bag
    • Stack the full bag
  • It wants to:
    • Fill the bag with sand

Check out http://www.ensorequipment.com for a currently existing fully automated sandbag filling machine.

Stone Mason

See Architecture in Field Stone.

  • It is a car sized external robot who can:
    • Locate building stones in the regolith
    • Pick up stones
    • Move stones
    • Mix and dispense lunar mortar
    • Place stones in wall
  • It wants to:
    • Build walls


  • Some small robots move around the interiors
    • Controlling dust
    • Disinfecting
  • You can pick up your own socks!

Air Lock Attendant

  • Some robots are stationed at (or are built into) the air lock doors
    • Provide security
    • Dust control by sweeping and inspection


  • Some robots tend to or are science instruments
  • One robot tends the amateur astronomy equipment
    • Is allowed to be operated by students

Safety Buddy

  • Accompany people when outside
    • No one ever goes outside completely alone
  • In case of an accident
    • Calls for help
    • May be able to physically help
    • Provides images
    • Carries spare air
  • Required full time for:
    • Tourists
    • Retirees

Surgical Assistance

  • Allows doctors on Earth to treat people on the Moon
  • Assists Chief Medical Officer (Doc)
  • Can do micro-surgery

Personal Avatar

  • It is the virtual person in your computer system who tries to help you
  • Is who you talk too

TV Reporter

  • Allows television interview of people on the Moon by Earth side reports
  • Has a camera, microphone on an arm, and a monitor screen for the interviewee to look at
  • Can communicate back to Earth without pre-approval of Company or government

Not all the characters on the Moon will be mechanical. See People on the Moon.

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