Starting from scratch on a new continent is hard. Starting from scratch on a new celestial body that does not support life is 100 times harder.
To survive human settlers will need to endure deep space travel, battle harsh radiation, operate in lower gravity, and live in artificial atmosphere. Getting help from Earth could take weeks if you are on the Moon and years if you find yourself on Mars.
The best way to reduce the extraordinary risks involved in establishing permanent and sustainable presence on other planetary surfaces is to have a local robotic workforce to do the heavy lifting: build landing pads, excavate underground habitats, extract water ice and materials, make drinkable water, breathable air and rocket propellant, manufacture basic structures and solar cells, produce electricity, and eventually replicate themselves. Over the next decades, we will need thousands of robots that could mine, manufacture and build on the Moon, asteroids and Mars.
The robots needed for these tough industrial jobs are quite unlike our lunar resident Jade Rabbit, Martian Curiosity or the almost two million industrial robots working in factories and warehouses on Earth. The new generation of our industrial robots is:
01. Small & robust...
to neatly pack into and survive launches on rockets