Mexico has officially started the COLMENA Project, the first Mexican lunar exploration mission. The mission, which will land on the moon in June, consists of five small robots that will be placed on the lunar surface. They are already on board the Peregrine Lander, made by the US Astrobotic company, and ready to travel the 384,400 kilometers that separate Earth from the moon.
The mission calls for the robots to act autonomously and, taking nature as an example, demonstrate that they can coordinate and be space explorers and miners. The five robots each weigh less than 60 grams (0.1 pounds) and measure 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) in diameter. All of their electronics will be less than two centimeters from the rocky rubble on the moon’s surface known as the lunar regolith.
The project is headed by the UNAM and accompanied by the Foreign Ministry, the Mexican Space Agency (AEM) and the state of Hidalgo. During the presentation of the mission, UNAM Rector Enrique Graue said that the ceremony was a celebration of the strength of the National University and its research institutes, and of the progress made by the Space Instrumentation Laboratory (LINX), with the participation of 200 students who use basic science to transform reality. “In the coming months we will work on getting these robots into space; we’ll celebrate their launch in June and then their arrival,” said the rector at the ceremony held at the UNAM.