An improved exploration robot nicknamed “SORA-Q” by TAKARATOMY et al to land on the moon in 2022 | Gadget Tsushin GetNews

The improved exploration robot nicknamed

[▲ 变形月球机器人“SORA-Q (LEV-2)”。左边是变形前,右边是变形后(图片来源:TAKARATOMY)]

TAKARATOMY Co., Ltd. is an improved lunar exploration robot jointly developed on March 15 with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Sony Group Corporation, and Doshisha University.“LEV-2”Nickname is“Sora-Q”

It was revealed that it was decided. Two SORA-Qs, scheduled to launch in 2022, are designed to operate on the moon and acquire images.

*… LEV is an acronym for Lunar Excursion Vehicle

■ A small, palm-sized exploration robot utilizing the toy maker's know-how

The lunar robot “SORA-Q” (right) before its transformation (Image credit: TAKARATOMY)

[▲ 变形前的月球机器人“SORA-Q”(右)(图片来源:TAKARATOMY)]SORA-QAbout 8cm in diameter and about 250g in mass

It is a lunar exploration robot. TAKARATOMY’s name is “Sora”, which means universe, “Question” and “Quest” are the meaning of universe, its appearance is “sphere”, and the outline on the side is the alphabet. Because it’s like “ask”.Despite its small size, it is suitable for SORA-Q2 camerasinstalled and relay communications by having another spacecraft (described later)Send images etc to Earthwere able.The time it takes from reaching the moon to sending the image is1-2 hours

Reserve. It’s battery powered, but not rechargeable, and will stay there forever after the mission is over.The biggest feature is that after landingspherical shell, left and right separatedYes.this shellWheels that move the moonIt also works as, and can be rotated left and right separately. The wheel has an eccentric rotation axis, and the left and right coordinate movements.“Butterfly Run”and move separately“crawl run”

By taking full advantage of both driving modes, driving not only on flat terrain, but also on slopes is possible.

(Source: TAKARATOMY)SORA-Q from JAXA“Space Exploration Innovation Center”From 2016, inUnder the framework of a Request for Proposal (RFP)

deformed lunar robot

The research started at. It was originally a two-party system for JAXA and TAKARATOMY, but in 2019 Sony and Doshisha University joined in 2021, making it a four-party system. The development utilizes the housing miniaturization technology of Takara Tomy and Doshisha University, the control technology of Sony, and the development technology and knowledge of JAXA.

*… A project aimed at developing and building research related to space exploration under unprecedented new systems and efforts by establishing an organization that gathers human resources and knowledge from diverse fields.[▲ 变形的月球机器人“SORA-Q”(图片来源:TAKARATOMY)置于人类手中]SORA-Q is a sphere, small in size during transportation, strong in impact resistance when landing, and can start to unfold and drive at any angle after landing, and itself has a deformable body, that is, wheels. Realized roleization, miniaturization and light weight.for its development

TAKARATOMY’s knowledge of miniaturization and weight reduction cultivated by making toys, deformation mechanism technology

It is said to be available.

■ Two aircraft will be launched on JAXA and a private lunar lander[▲想象中的小型登月演示机“SLIM”(图片来源:JAXA)]As mentioned at the outset, two SORA-Qs are planned for 2022. One of them is JAXA’s small moon landing demonstration aircraft.

“Slim”It was installed on the moon and brought to the lunar surface.SLIM is the X-ray Spectroscopic Imaging Satellite“XRISM”emission

“H-IIA” rocketIt is planned to launch as a carpool in 2022. After launch, SLIM will land on a slope (at an inclination of about 10 degrees) near a small crater named “Shioli” (from “Shiori”) in the moon’s “Mare Nectaris”.SLIM no longer “choose easy pick-up and drop-off” as in the past“Get off where you want to land”It is a demonstrator developed for this purpose and features.

“Two-Stage Landing Method”has been adopted.SLIM is like a normal spaceshipvertical descentThen it touched the lunar surface, but after that, it deliberately collapsed into the lunar surface andstable in a horizontal positionto do it.In order to maintain a vertical attitude after landing, you need to choose a relatively flat terrain to descend, but if it is a horizontal attitude

slope terrain

It is said to be easy to deal with.[▲ SLIM、SORA-Q、LEV-1 登月图(图片来源:TAKARATOMY)]SORA-Q is another exploration robot

“LEV-1”At an altitude of 1.8m, it will separate from SLIM and land on the moon in the form of a sphere. After landing, the shell was split into left and right, unfolding a head-like stabilizer equipped with cameras and a stance-stabilizing tail. Capture data by taking before and after photos while moving with the left and right wheels. According to TAKARATOMY, SORA-Q operates on the moon and shoots automatically, while SORA-Q decides on its own to choose which images to send.LEV-1 is an exploration robot with a mass of 2.1 kg developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, and Chuo University.Move while jumping on the lunar surfacewere able.In addition to being equipped with visible light cameras, accelerometers, thermometers, etc., the aircraft also supports direct communication with the earth, so

LEV-1 relay SORA-Q communication

(SORA-Q and LEV-1 are connected via Bluetooth).[▲ SLIM、SORA-Q、LEV-1 登月图(图片来源:TAKARATOMY)]Another SORA-Q is ispace Co., Ltd.’s lunar exploration program.

“Baidou-R”It will be taken to the moon in the first mission, “Mission 1.”Mission 1, the first mission to the moon led by a private Japanese company, is scheduled to launch around the end of 2022, according to the company. Unmanned lunar landers include SORA-Q and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) lunar rover.


A total of 7 payloads are installed. SORA-Q communications in Mission 1 will be relayed by the ispace lunar lander.[▲ ispace 有限公司月球着陆器(Lander)的想象(图片来源:ispace 网站)]In the mission of SORA-Q in synergy with SLIM,

Demonstration of ultra-small robot detection technology in low-gravity lunar environment
Intend. TAKARATOMY stated that SORA-Q will challenge tasks according to the following five points.
・Arrived at the moon
・Leave SLIM and land on the moon
– Run on lunar regolith, get and save operational logs

・Take photos of the area around the lander and save the images.– Send captured image data, travel logs and status to the ground using a communications system independent of the SLIM spacecraft.Future lunar exploration will also require SORA-Q

manned pressurized roveralso contribute to development.It is well known that the gravity of the moon’s surface is about one-sixth that of the earth’s surface, and its surface isregolithIt is covered by (sand on the moon).According to JAXA, as a result of the concept study of a manned pressurized rover that began in 2019 in anticipation of future manned lunar exploration, while studying the details of autonomous driving technology and driving technology, in fact,

Get data such as moon images

It is said that it has been decided that it is necessary to do so.

When SORA-Q reaches the lunar surface, it acquires regolith behavior and image data as it travels and sends it to Earth. The data obtained in this way will be used to study the manned pressurized rover.

SORA-Q was born not only by JAXA, which is responsible for Japan’s space development, but also by the toy maker’s know-how. I look forward to the start of the mission!

Image credit: TAKARATOMY

TAKARATOMY – Product Information | SORA-Q

JAXA-Small Moon Landing Demonstration Machine SLIM

Sentence / Takehiro Matsumura
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