Fri, December 03, 2021

international

Tiny robot developed by JAXA, toymaker for lunar probe


An ultra-small lunar robot currently being developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, toymaker Tomy Co. and others will land on the moon as early as 2022, JAXA has announced.

The 250-gram robot ball, 8 centimeters in diameter, will be loaded onto space start-up ispace inc.’s lunar lander bound for the moon.

After landing on the moon’s surface, the robot ball expands its two hemispheres to transform into a two-wheeled rover that moves around. An onboard camera can photograph the moon’s surface and send the data back to Earth via the lander.

JAXA is conducting joint research with Toyota Motor Corp. on a crewed rover for future lunar exploration by astronauts.

The moon’s gravity is one-sixth that of Earth, and the surface is covered by sandy regolith. The robot ball is expected to collect data necessary for driving and cruising technology to be utilized by the crewed rover in the future.

The start-up’s lander is scheduled to be launched in 2022 on a U.S. SpaceX rocket that will also carry a United Arab Emirates space rover, among other items.

Published : June 02, 2021

By : The Japan News/ANN