Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 114 Issue 6 December 2005 pp 815-822
There has been a debate for the last thirty years about the relative merits of human versus robotic systems and we argue here that both are essential components for successful lunar exploration and development. We examine the role of robots in the next phases of exploration and human development of the Moon. The historical use of robots and humans in exploration is discussed, including Apollo-era exploration, International Space Station, and deep-water petroleum exploration. The technological challenges of lunar operations are addressed in the context of how robotic systems can be designed for robust and flexible operations. System design recommendations are given based on the lessons learned from terrestrial and space robotics.