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Japan developing extraterrestrial construction machines

The Japanese space agency has teamed up with construction company Kajima to develop autonomous construction machines for the moon and Mars.


Earth as seen from the moon in 1969.


The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is looking to roboticised construction to help create habitats for humans on Mars and the moon. It will be working with construction company Kajima, which has already tested an autonomous construction system. The A4CSEL allows human operators to deliver instructions to the machinery equipped with GPS and accelerometers using tablet computers. It has already been used to construct dams in the Fukuoka and Oita prefectures.

Kajima plans to develop new software that also allows the machines to communicate with each other, so as to avoid getting in each others' way, colliding with each other, and repeating work. In addition, JAXA has contracted construction company Taguchi Industrial with developing lightweight machinery that will be easier to lift into space.

The ESA, the Russian Federal Space Agency and NASA have all previously unveiled plans for extraterrestrial bases.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, JAXA hopes to have the machinery ready to construct habitats for four to six people on the moon by 2030 and Mars by 2040.