Throughout the years, the space agencies of various countries have sent rovers into space where they are used to help scout the surfaces of the places they land on, whether it be the moon or other planets like Mars. For the most part, these rovers look like miniaturized four wheel drives, but Japan could have a different approach.
According to a report from The Bytes, Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have announced that they will be teaming up with the likes of Sony, Doshisha University, and toy maker Tomy, to create a ball-shaped robot that they plan to send into space where it will eventually be used to explore the moon.
The robot will be initially shaped like a ball while not in use, but once it reaches the surface, it will transform into its “full” configuration that can capture images of the moon’s surface. The teamup of the companies involved is actually a bit surprising, but this is a collaboration that started way back in 2016.
Sony will be providing the control technology for the robot, while Doshisha University and Tomy worked together to help miniaturize the design. It’s an interesting concept and could help with future missions where more robots could be brought on board flights, especially if they could shrink themselves down to be more portable. The robot is expected to launch in 2022 so we’ll have to wait a bit to see how it turns out.