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Japan will send baseball-sized transforming robots to the moon



Illustration for an article titled Japan Is Sending This Tiny Transforming Robo-Ball Straight to the Moon.

Graphic: JAXA/TOMY Company/Sony/Doshisha University

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has teamed up with Sony, Doshisha University and toymaker Tomy to send a baseball-sized transforming rover to the moon. It’s time to live, amirite?

And this little bot has a huge responsibility: it will gather comprehensive information about the lunar surface so that the JAXA crewed rover is ready to launch on the lunar surface. 2029, back and forth. To develop the autonomous driving and cruise technology that the rover will use to travel, JAXA needs to study the potential effects of the moon’s gravity. which is one of the six in the world and the layer of Regolith also known as moon’s soil which covers its surface The agency said in an announce This week was first seen by bytes.

The “ultra compact and ultra-lightweight robot” measures approximately 3.1 inches (80 mm) in diameter and weighs about half a pound (250 g). It will sit on the lunar lander from iSpace. of Japan which it starts its journey in a compact ball and opens to Its “running style” after that. arrive at the lunar surface

JAXA said, “As the robot travels on the lunar surface, Images of the regolith’s behavior and lunar surface images taken by the lunar robot and camera are sent to the mission control center via the lunar lander.”

JAXA has been working with bots since 2016 with Tomy, the Japanese toy maker behind Transformers and Beyblades. rolling robot) signed the project in 2019 and provided the robot’s control system, while Doshisha University joined in 2021 and helped Tomy shrink the overall design.

“since [company’s] The Foundation has created quality toys that are safe and reliable. There is a spirit of craftsmanship with attention to detail. flexible imagination and above all We have a strong commitment to making children smile,” Tomi’s CEO and President Kantaro Tomiyama said in a JAXA press release. these are opportunities to explore space and make children more interested in natural sciences, including space.”

The little roboball could head to the moon in 2022. With its compact design and versatility, it is “expected to play an active role in future lunar exploration missions as well,” JAXA said.


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