Chinese scientists say they have worked out a group of secondary robots which resemble wheels of a vehicle to carry out exploration missions on the moon.
The robot series are an array of independently-controlled, concurrent and reconfigurable secondary robots, each consisting of an arm for carrying objects, collecting samples, surveying and mapping, and a triangular wheel for independent walking and skipping obstacles, said a spokesman for the Automation Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The institute, based in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, is the independent developer of the robots which have passed the appraisal test by the Chinese government.
These secondary robots are like wheels of the moon rover, which is also made up of a primary robot, the bodywork of the vehicle, said the CAS spokesman who declined to be named.
"The system will begin working when all the secondary robots' arms are linked to the primary robot, and a precise positioning system will help the whole system achieve concurrent and automatic operation," he said. "The secondary robots can be sent to different missions collecting data or removing any obstacle and automatically return to the main system."
The reconfigurable system will play a leading role in China's future explorations to the moon or other planets, he said.
The Chinese government has also announced its plan to launch a satellite to orbit the moon by 2007 as part of China's three-stage lunar project. Moreover, the country plans to land an unmanned rover on the Moon for collecting Lunar soil samples around 2020.