ESA is developing an autonomous robot to explore the Moon’s caves

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Humans have aspired to colonize the Moon for centuries, but the celestial body has an extremely hostile environment.

The safest places for settlers might be below the moon’s surface.

The European Space Agency (ESA) believes moon caves could provide shelter from radiation, micrometeorites and extreme temperatures – and possibly even access to water ice deposits.

The agency is currently testing an autonomous robot that it hopes will offer new information about conditions in the caves.

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Named DAEDALUS, the 18-inch sphere would be lowered into a cave mouth from a long tether, then use its own power to roll. The tether would also serve as a Wi-Fi receiver that sends back the data collected by the probe.

Cameras and sensors installed on DAEDALUS would then make it possible to map the interior of the cave, study the environment and search for ice deposits.

Credit: European Space Agency