ESA is developing an autonomous robot to explore the caves of the Moon

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

The safest places for settlers could be under the surface of the Moon.

The European Space Agency (ESA) believes that lunar caves could provide shelter from radiation, micrometeorites and extreme temperatures, and perhaps even access to water ice reservoirs.

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

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Called DAEDALUS, the 18-inch sphere was lowered into the mouth of a cave on a long strap and then used its own power to roll. The tether would also serve as a Wi-FI receiver that sends back the data collected by the probe.

The cameras and sensors installed in DAEDALUS would then map the interior of the cave, study the surroundings, and search for ice deposits.

Credit: European Space Agency