Saturday, April 4, 2009

Robots, Space, and Public Diplomacy

Japan is apparently aiming for walking robots on the moon according to this AP article.

Japan hopes to have a two-legged robot walk on the moon by around 2020, with a joint mission involving astronauts and robots to follow, according to a plan laid out Friday by a government group.


Other recommendations by the group include using space research as a tool to foster diplomacy with other countries and developing an advanced satellite to predict and monitor natural disasters.

Beyond the novelty of walking moon robots, there another item of interest mentioned in the article that relates to Japanese PD. The group proposing the robots for space research also recommended
promoting research into military satellites, such as an early warning system for detecting ballistic missile launches and systems to detect and analyze radio waves sent in space.
which is especially of note when tied to the a second quote in the article.
The Strategic Headquarters was established last year by a law passed to advance Japan's space technology and exploration. It allows the country, which has a largely peaceful constitution, to use space for military defense.
Given regional tensions concerning Japan's use development of military ability, I'm surprised I haven't seen anything else about this.

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