We wish we were joking. From the NY Daily News, June 1:
Move over C-3PO.
The Japanese space agency is embarking on a mammoth $2.2 billion project to put humanoid robots on the moon and create an unmanned robot lunar base by 2020, according to Prime Ministers office.
The robots will be 660-pound machines equipped with tank-like treads, solar panels, seismographs, high-def cameras, according to CNet.com.
They will also have human-like arms that can collect samples and debris from the moons surface which can then be sent back to Earth via rocket ship.
“Humanoid robots are glamorous, and they tend to get people fired up,” Japanese space entrepreneur Noriyuki Yoshida told The Daily Yomiuri. “We hope to develop a charming robot to fulfill the dream of going to space.”
But the robots main objective will be to construct the unmanned base, which the Japanese believe will be essential to future research and exploration of the solar system.
The robots are also said to operate with a degree of autonomy, although hopefully not the extent of HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Bad enough that the technosphere is rapidly colonizing Planet Earth. Now they want to export it to the rest of the solar system.