The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is going to send a small transformable robot to the moon, in the creation of which Sony will participate.
The robot is being developed jointly by JAXA, Sony, TOMY and Doshisha University. The Japanese company Ispace will be responsible for the delivery of the robot.
The transforming robot will be designed to study the lunar soil. And in this case we are not talking about the study of samples. The bottom line is that a camera will be placed on the robot, and scientists in this case will be interested in the behavior of the regolith during the movement of the robot.
The purpose of the mission is to study the behavior of the soil under the pressure of a moving vehicle. This is necessary for a future mission, in which Japanese astronauts will land on the moon and move along its surface in a sealed rover.
The robot has been created since 2016. In this case, Sony provided its technologies related to robotics and control systems for such devices, helped to miniaturize the robot – it will weigh about 250 g with a diameter (before opening) of 80 mm.
The launch of the lander with a robot is scheduled for 2022. The mentioned mission with astronauts is for 2029.