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Japan will put a transforming baseball-sized robot on the moon in 2022

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 5/28/2021 Chris Ciaccia For Dailymail.Com
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No, it's not Optimus Prime, but Japan is intent on putting a transforming robot on the moon next year.   

Japan's space agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency is working with Japanese robotics company ispace to use the HAKUTO-R lander to put a robot on the moon next year.

At three inches in diameter, roughly the size of a baseball, the robot will be put onto ispace's lunar lander, then deployed to the Moon. 

While on the Moon, the two-wheeled robot will take pictures of the moon's regolith and surface, and then sent them back to mission control for analysis.

'The robot has a feature to transform into a running form after arriving at the lunar surface, which contributes to a reduction in volume during transportation to the Moon,' JAXA said in its statement. 'Therefore, it is expected to play active roles in future lunar exploration missions as well.'  

Takeshi Hakamada, founder and CEO of ispace: 'We are honored that JAXA has entrusted ispace's lunar payload transportation service to deliver its robot to the Moon and lay the framework for its future lunar surface exploration. We're also pleased to make history as the first commercial service provider to a governmental lunar surface mission in Japan.' 

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So far, only three countries have landed on the moon: the US, Russia and China, with only the US having put astronauts on the Moon.  

According to JAXA, the robot is being built in conjunction with Sony, Doshisha University and Japanese entertainment company, Tomy.

Tomy is perhaps best known for producing the popular Transformers toys following its merger with Takara in 2006. 

Following the partnerships with Japanese corporations, JAXA said it intends to study international space exploration by utilizing the lunar landings and technology from commercial companies.  

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