from the having-a-ball-with-science dept.
Japan is prepping an unusual robot to explore the Moon — and it's clearly influenced by the country's tech industry. The Byte reports that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has teamed up with Sony, Doshisha University and toy maker Tomy on a ball-shaped transforming robot to study the lunar soil ahead of a crewed rover due in 2029.
The 8.8oz bot will arrive in a compact ball that will help the private robotics company Ispace carry the machine aboard its lunar lander. Once on the surface, it'll pop open into a "full" configuration that captures images of the Moon's surface. This will also make the robot useful for future missions, JAXA said.