1, March, 2024
HomeWorldJapan's Moon Mission Unveils 'Moon Sniper' Robot: A Toymaker's Lunar Exploration

Japan’s Moon Mission Unveils ‘Moon Sniper’ Robot: A Toymaker’s Lunar Exploration

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Japan is set to embark on its ambitious ‘Moon Sniper’ mission, scheduled for today around 3:00 pm GMT (8:30 pm IST).

Read Also | Japan’s SLIM Probe Aims for Historic Lunar Landing in January

The mission aims to achieve a soft lunar landing, with an onboard robot named SORA-Q, designed by Takara Tomy, the renowned company behind Transformers toys.

Exploring the SORA-Q Robot

The SORA-Q robot, initially a compact sphere with an eight-centimeter diameter, is poised to explore the lunar surface.

Crafted with precision by Takara Tomy, the robot will undergo a fascinating transformation upon landing, splitting into two independently controlled wheels with a wishbone-like tail for stability. A camera module will elegantly pop up from its core, providing insights into the lunar terrain.

Technical Details and Collaboration

Hirano Daichi, Associate Senior Researcher at JAXA’s Space Exploration Innovation Hub Center, emphasized the collaborative effort with Takara Tomy, stating that they optimized the vehicle’s components for enhanced reliability.

The small robot is expected to engage in approximately two hours of activity before its battery depletes. This innovative creation was a collaborative effort involving not just Takara Tomy but also Doshisha University and Sony, contributing a control board and camera.

Takara Tomy: From Toys to Lunar Exploration

Takara Tomy, known for its iconic Transformers toys, traces its origins to TOMY Company Ltd, a Japanese toymaker founded in 1924.

The company, after merging with the Takara toy company in 2006, became Takara Tomy. The Transformers toys, initially the Diaclone and Micro Change lines, gained global fame after being licensed to Hasbro in the 1980s.

SLIM Lander’s Precision Landing

Accompanying the Moon Sniper robot is the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), launched in September last year.

The SLIM lander aims for pinpoint landing accuracy near the Shioli crater by the moon’s Mare Nectaris, utilizing unique shock absorbers resembling a mix of chain mail and an inverted geodesic dome.

Future Endeavors and International Collaboration

JAXA’s collaboration with Toyota for a crewed lunar rover and plans for future missions, including a rover to the lunar south pole in 2025 in partnership with India’s ISRO, mark Japan’s commitment to advancing lunar exploration.

Read Also | SpaceX Reschedules X-37B Robot Spaceplane Launch for December 28

As Japan sets its sights on lunar exploration milestones, the ‘Moon Sniper’ mission heralds an exciting chapter in space exploration, blending toymaker creativity with cutting-edge technology.

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