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UK's first lunar rover to be a spider-like bot

LONDON: The UK's first ever moon rover will head to the lunar surface in 2021. The tiny robotic lunar lander – the smallest ever made – has legs instead of wheels and resembles a spider. It will walk over the moon's surface with the aim of informing future human missions. If successful, the UK will become only the fourth country to land a rover on the moon after the US, Russia and China.
Unveiled during an event in London, the robot was designed by UK start-up space company SpaceBit.
SpaceBit founder Pavlo Tanasyuk said: "Our goal is to go and see what's available for all humanity to explore." He added that unlike rovers with wheels or tracks, this four-legged robot would provide an opportunity for "something a a little bit like a human ”to explore the lunar surface.
In May, NASA announced that Astrobotic and two other firms had been awarded funding to build lunar landers.
Astrobotic was awarded millions of dollars to carry up to 14 NASA instruments to the moon as well as 14 payloads from other partners.
SpaceBit will be one of those partners, sending the rover to the surface inside Astrobotic's Peregrine lander.
It is expected to land near the Mare Serenitatis region – the Sea of ​​Serenity – in June or July 2021.
Once the lander reaches the moon, the 1.5kg (3lb 5oz) rover will drop from beneath it to the surface along with other payloads. It will scuttle across the surface taking measurements and collecting exploration data.
The rover is battery-powered, but a small solar panel will also harness energy from the sun.
It also has two cameras that will enable it to take "robot selfies", SpaceBit said. The reason for the legs is to allow the robot to enter lava tubes in future missions, which has not been possible before.
Tanasyuk said: "After we land, we will be exploring the surface of the moon, and hopefully we will be able to get into the lava tubes and explore the environment there."

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