The Japanese space agency (JAXA) plans to send a new generation of robotic probe to the surface of the Moon soon.
Developed by several large Japanese companies, including Sony and Doshisha University, the probe will operate on lunar soil, in order to carry out various analyzes in order to prepare the manned missions planned for 2029.
Thanks to its spherical shape and its ability to modulate, the robot the size of a baseball weighing barely 250 grams will be able to overcome the various obstacles that will stand in its way on the Moon.
It will also be able to deploy various instruments to take samples of the regolith, the lunar sand.
A prerequisite for inhabited missions
The Japanese space agency wants to learn more about the lunar soil, but especially about the impact of the Moon's gravity, which is six times less than that of the Earth.
This information will allow it to better prepare its future manned missions.
"While the robot is moving on the surface of the Moon, the images of the behavior of the regolith [lunar soil], and the images of the surface of the Moon taken by the robot and its camera of the lunar lander will be sent to the center. mission control, ”said the Japanese space agency in its press release.
The observations and analyzes of the regolith will make it possible to better prepare the deployment of a pressurized lunar “minibus”, developed in collaboration with Toyota.
With a range of 10,000 km, this rover will facilitate long-distance travel for Japanese astronauts during manned lunar missions scheduled for 2030.
In development since 2016, the robot-ball should be sent to the Moon in the course of 2022.
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