Robots are getting so smart and powerful, it's getting to the point where it's probably a better idea to send one of them to the Moon rather than a human. Robot-crazy Japan wants to do just that by 2015.
That robot's not going to be overly productive, though. Japan plans to have the bipedal humanoid robot Maido-kun plant a Japanese flag on the lunar surface, as a publicity stunt to show the country's techno-prowess. Sounds more like a small step than a giant leap.
Think of it this way: If that robot can plant a flag in the ground, there are plenty of other things it could do, like it maybe imitate its non-humanoid Mars-exploring cousins. Best of all, that bot probably won't mind too much if it's marooned on the Moon, saving the trouble of a return trip.