back to article Imagine finding this bad boy in your shower: Brit startup pulls the sheets off Moon spider mech

In a week where the space-faring community said goodbye to death-defying cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, Skyrora upped the ante with its rocket testing, Elon Musk and Jim Bridenstine kissed and made up, and Britain said it would be sending mech-spider nightmare fuel to the Moon. Your worst nightmare? Brit spiderbot* to roam the Moon …

  1. Argh

    It's all fun and games until it injects you with acid and explodes, a la Runaway:

    1. GrahamRJ

      Yay, someone else who remembers that film. I was going to post exactly the same thing, so kudos for getting in first. :)

      1. VinceH

        I remember it as well! (Though, until now, not what it was called.)

        As to Spacebit's "Walking Robot" I feel they've missed a trick by not making it look like a Stargate Replicator.

    2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge

      Well done!

      Kudos for remembering the title. I'm hopeless when it comes to titles or names of folks who starred in movies but could tell you every minute thing that happened.

  2. tony72

    Yes, we know it only has four legs, but just look at it.

    A spider is still a spider if you pull four of its legs off*, is it not? So I think you get a pass on that anyway.

    *which I am not advocating, before any animal rights activists get worked up, although they seem less quick to defend the rights of creepy-crawlies anyway.

    1. Baldrickk
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Yes, we know it only has four legs, but just look at it.

      Ever played Limbo? (PC game, not ducking under sticks)

      icon - closest thing to a spider

    2. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: Yes, we know it only has four legs, but just look at it.

      "although they seem less quick to defend the rights of creepy-crawlies anyway."

      Yes, they tend to require to have fur, or be tasty, to be defended by that mob.

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Yes, we know it only has four legs, but just look at it.

      Indeed, the animal rights lobby goes hardest over animals we have diminutives for like baa lambs, bunny rabbits, puppy dogs and pussy cats. As a former licensed animal experimenter I knew full well that a few Frankenstein (sorry transgenic) mice were not top priority.

      During my PhD in New Zealand we were visited by Prof Colin Blakemore who used to be hate figure #1 for the animal rightists to the extent of needing 24/7 police protection. We were walking over the road to our lab (my boss was hosting him) after his talk, it was a lovely spring day, new leaves on thet trees, the sun shining, the birds singing. He stopped and remarked how lovely it was to be able to do that and feel safe. He didn't have or need any minders on the NZ leg of his trip.

      As they told us when I worked at NIMR in NW London the animal rights mob had committed more individual acts of terrorism on the British mainland than the IRA, they just used much smaller bombs and wielded baseball bats not armalites. Things got a lot quieter when they put a lot of the worst in gaol over the guinea pig farm shenanigans, which included digging up someone's grandma from the cemetery and holding the remains hostage. They also suborned a staffer at DVLA who was givng them address details from license plates. He got gaol time too.

  3. Jay 2

    The spiderbot form ~2076

    I am somewhat reminded of the Liberator bots from Fallout 76 (yes I'm the one still playing). Look here if you don't know what that is.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe art has a place - I give you THE STRANDBEEST

    The engineering challenge is to replace wind with motorpower.


  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "the four-legged robot can also jump"

    Sure, but can it land and stay operational ? Have they tested that in a Moon-like gravitational environment ?

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: "the four-legged robot can also jump"

      Yeah, can't help think of the Beagle.

      I initially misunderstood the spider in the shower reference, initially thought it was about a new equivalent to the auto vacuum cleaner bot, and thought 'cool, i hate cleaning the shower'

    2. Scroticus Canis

      Re: "the four-legged robot can also jump"

      A good enough reason pack a pump-action if you go up there. Just to be sure.

  6. AIBailey


    ... we're going to have multiple small rovers dropping and rolling or crawling or walking off and taking all kinds of pictures and data

    Whilst I'd like to raise a pint to the guys behind this, I can't help but get an uneasy feeling that we're now on the cusp of an age where we're going to be flinging an almost endless stream of short-lived tech onto the surface of the moon, just to add to the already depressing amount of end-of-life junk that we've already littered the space around the Earth with.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Spiderbot

      So what? It makes absolutely no difference to anything. The Moon isn't exactly an ecosystem.

      1. Eltonga

        Re: Spiderbot

        So what? It makes absolutely no difference to anything. The Moon isn't exactly an ecosystem.

        Nor is the Earth orbit, for the case. Problem is that all that trash that we leave out there is coming to bite us back sooner or later. The Earth orbit is a worse case than the Moon surface as it is a lot more "populated" and it has a lot more (and more dangerous) trash that can impact any valuable satellite or space ship. There is a lot of dangerous sized trash that is being tracked, but there is a lot that is not tracked at all, not to talk of "unknown" origin one, a.k.a. military/spy satellite debris.

  7. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Do I have this right..?

    It says in the story that it can only "scuttle 10 meters"???

    I'm kind of struggling to see the point. It's almost like the aeronautical equivalent of a selfie stick.

    1. spold

      Re: Do I have this right..?

      Pretty much. An they are failing to take into account how far it gets before a Clanger twats it with a towel.

      1. Tom Paine

        Re: Do I have this right..?

        Ahhh, Clangers don't use towels. Here's the canonical episode, which it says here is almost FIFTY YEARS OLD (!) showing how they deal with trundlebots:

        Extremely prescient model-making there, there was nothing so advanced in real life in December 1969. Ingesting samples for internal labs didn't happen until Viking in 1976, IIRC.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Do I have this right..?

          Gotta say, I prefer the director's cut, the one without the voiceover narration.

          It's like those English filmmakers don't think anyone can figure out their films for themselves.


          1. Scroticus Canis

            Re: Do I have this right..?

            Well it was made for 3-5 year olds and the narrator is telling them the story. Just like every episode that was made.

            1. Stevie Silver badge

              Re: Do I have this right..?


          2. oldfartuk

            Re: Do I have this right..?

            The english version didnt have the voiceover. Thats the version for the american market......

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: Do I have this right..?

      It says in the story that it can only "scuttle 10 meters"???

      I'm kind of struggling to see the point. It's almost like the aeronautical equivalent of a selfie stick.

      To be fair, it's a fairly speculative tech demonstrator which weighs just over a kilo. I assume the dimensions are fairly tiny and 10m is quite a lot of "walking" for it. Enough to refine the design for larger/more expensive vehicles that need to negotiate target terrain like difficult slopes.

    4. the Jim bloke Silver badge

      Re: Do I have this right..?

      probably get better range by mounting a catapult on the lander, and just throwing the little buggers.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    What is wrong with a ....

    Coin operated oven on skis?

    1. Tigra 07

      Re: What is wrong with a ....

      Unfortunately the moon isn't made of cheese...

  9. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Imagine finding this bad boy in your shower

    The meaning of that sentence depends wholly on tone of voice, and the way you first read it will say a lot about you personally. I read it in a purring, sexually suggestive voice. There will be a Venn diagram of arachnophobes, technophiles, autistic spectrumers, obsessive compulsives, sexual deviants/specialists and so on that will all read it differently.

    I love tech. I love spiders because they terrify my awful sister and I bring spiders indoors to keep her away. This article inspires me to build a remote control tarantula that I can post through her letterbox to scare her to death. Is there an existing RPi project that does this?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Imagine finding this bad boy in your shower

      The sad part is where SpaceBit realizes there is a larger demand for this as an adult toy, catering to people who can (ahem....) imagine finding this robo-"bad boy" in their shower.

  10. rg287 Silver badge

    Even comes complete with glowy red HAL light!

    In all seriousness though, there's a fair chance this could end up burning - this is flying on the very first mission for ULA's new Vulcan rocket. It's literally a certification flight. I wish them the best and hope it won't end up burning on the pad in Florida.

  11. Roger Kynaston Silver badge


    So long as it isn't a long forgotten soviet nuclear missile platform.

  12. Steve K Silver badge

    Send to Mars too?

    Can they send some to Mars - if only as a memorial to David Bowie?

    1. Skwosh

      Re: Send to Mars too?

      Strictly speaking they'd have to send more than one (spiders – plural) to Mars and then they'd have to be able to get more than one of them back from Mars to Earth because otherwise technically speaking they wouldn't be The Spiders from Mars – they'd just be a spider or spiders on Mars.

      Picky I know.

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: Send to Mars too?

        I thought someone might spot that so I did say “some”....

        But you are correct about spiders on Mars.

        I wonder if they can control them via a web interface?

  13. Shadow Systems

    I want a Tachikoma!

    Because who doesn't want a spider tank that can climb walls, leap over buildings, taser idiots, & tear telemarketers in half?

    GimmiegimmiegimmiegimmieGIMMIE! =-D

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: I want a Tachikoma!

      You could build a hutch for them on the roof and fit them with silk spinners to abseil down on the marketers making hissing sounds.

      I once answered the door to two female JW's dressed for the run I was preparing for, split shorts, technical t-shirt. The short one accused me of being dressed in my underwear. After failing to interest them in my counter proselytisation for the light of Reason and Science I finished my prep and passed them as I hared off up the road to prove my point.

      It wasn't as though I was wearing the non baggy shorts or the tiny pair left over from the '90s that my daughters banned me from wearing, they were my black and red baggy shorts. Not my fault they get the vapours at the sight of my muscular legs.

    2. Tigra 07

      Re: I want a Tachikoma!

      Spider Tank... Spider Tank... Blasts whatever a Spider Tank wants..

  14. jonathan keith Silver badge

    All aboard the SkylArk!

    I will be deeply disappointed if Skyora's first two payload items are not named Noah and Nellie. (And ideally Nellie will be a machine to test zero-g knitting.)

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: All aboard the SkylArk!

      I was thinking more along the lines of it having a copy of E.E. "Doc" Smith's first novel on board (

  15. Zot

    Please stop saying ‘Brit’ I hate the term so much, all I can hear is an American saying it harshly and tastelessly.


    1. Tigra 07
      Thumb Up

      RE: Zot

      American? Surely you mean "Merkin"

      I knew an American who hated being called a "Merkin". He was very familiar that it's a name for a pubic wig. So of course, we always called him a "Merkin" to rub it in.

  16. gypsythief

    "A relief, no doubt, for 2024's moon-walkers worried about Opportunity-esque longevity"

    There, FTFY.

  17. Aussie Doc Bronze badge

    I'm brave

    It's still a spider - 10 out of 10, I'd still whack it with a newspaper.

    Or, for the modern amongst us, an iPad.

  18. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge


    Because Pratchett fans will understand.

  19. F111F

    Copyright Infringement?

    Looks like the spider toy from Toy Story...

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