Japan will send a transforming robot to probe the Moon

The Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) will send a small robot transforming from one shape to another to thoroughly study the lunar surface. 

The work carried out within the scope of re-visiting our satellite the Moon with manned missions continues uninterrupted. The ball-shaped robot developed by the Japan Space Exploration Agency (JAXA) to comprehensively study the lunar surface is just one of these studies.

It is very important for the future to know under what conditions the work carried out for the permanent presence of humanity on the Moon and the vehicles that continue to be developed accordingly will operate on the difficult surface of our satellite. The feature that distinguishes the robot planned to be sent to the Moon for the vehicle called ‘Lunar Cruiser’, which JAXA is working on, is the robot’s ability to change shape .

The robot, which was developed as a result of a partnership with JAXA, including Sony, Doshisha University and the toy manufacturer Tomy Company, has very small dimensions. The vehicle, which will have a diameter of 88 mm and a weight of 250 g, will transform from a ball form to a “runner” when it reaches the lunar surface. This shape, which will be obtained by opening the outer skeleton of the robot, which will be produced in two hemispheres, will allow the vehicle to move on the lunar surface.

According to JAXA, the main task of the robot to be sent to obtain images and data from the lunar surface is to understand how the regolith, which we can call moon soil, will react as the Lunar Cruiser moves on the surface.

Considering the diameter of the robot, we see that the vehicle cannot host a transmitter powerful enough to send the data it has obtained to Earth. Here, the landing vehicle that brings the robot to the Moon comes into play. In this sense, the lander will act as a relay that transmits the data obtained by the robot to Earth.

JAXA plans to send the robotic explorer ispace’s Commercial Moon lander to our satellite in 2022 .

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