Italy plans to have robots build a large telescope on the moon that will expand knowledge of the moon, earth and the universe.

The telescope will be built by robots and positioned in a lunar crater to give a new perspective on the earth, said the head of the Italian Space Agency (ASI), Sergio Vetrella.

The telescope will also be able to look deeper into space than earth-based equivalents, Italian News Agency ANSA reported here. The project will provide new information on the moon’s resources, Vetrella added.

ASI has earmarked 150 million euros for the project and will contact the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA for help in getting the telescope in place.

The first robots will be sent up between 2010 and 2012, Vetrella said.

"Over the next few years we’ll launch the pieces of the huge telescope which should be completed within 15 years," the ASI chief said.

"The goal of the project is to gain more knowledge of the parts of the universe not visible from the earth, as well as looking at our own planet with extreme precision."

The so-called "modular robots" will be taken to the moon aboard the Vega launcher, Vetrella said.

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