Scientists have developed a robotic ball that can explore lava tubes on the moon in search of water, as well as homes for the first humans who will live on its surface, and the spherical-shaped machine is officially known as DAEDALUS, and it is tied with a long rope, which allows it to be lowered into the depths of the lunar caves and then Separated to roll independently.
The robot, which is still in the prototype stage, will also carry an immersive stereoscopic camera, laser lidar system for 3D mapping of cave interiors, temperature sensors and a radiation dosimeter, in addition to arms Extendable to help remove obstructions and test rock properties. Scientists hope that DAEDALUS will eventually explore multiple deep maps on the surface of the moon, believed to be paths in lava caves that may contain water-based ice deposits.
The robotic ball has also been designed by a coordinating team from Würzburg (JMU) in Germany, where landing and exploration in underground lunar structures, DAEDALUS, are being evaluated by the European Space Agency's (ESA) Concurrent Design Facility, as part of a larger study of the Moon's Cave Mission Concepts. Volcanic caves could provide astronauts with natural shields against radiation, minute meteorites, and extreme surface temperatures, and the exploratory operation would include a massive crane that would lower DAEDALUS into the mouth of the lava tube.
Scientists have long believed that lava tubes on the moon and Mars could be used as habitats for early humans, and were likely large enough for human settlements, and these findings not only have important implications for the habitability and human exploration of the moon or mars, but also for the search for extraterrestrial life.