The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, also known as JAXA, has provided information on the spacecraft used for lunar exploration through the Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) project, which recently launched on the H2-A rocket. It is scheduled to land on the surface of the moon in the next 3-4 months.
The objective of the SLIM project is to demonstrate precise landing techniques on the moon by deploying small-scale instruments for surface exploration. The accompanying robotic explorer in this mission is named LEV-2, short for Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2. It has a circular shape with a diameter of 8 centimeters and weighs 250 grams. It is equipped with two cameras.
A highlight of the LEV-2 is its shape-shifting ability, allowing it to transform from a circular form into a vehicle suitable for traversing the lunar surface. This design minimizes the space it takes up on the rocket and reduces complexity. JAXA collaborated with TOMY, a renowned toy company, to develop and design the mechanism for the robot’s transformation. A demonstration of the mechanism can be seen in the accompanying video.
In addition to TOMY, the LEV-2 was also developed in collaboration with Doshisha University and utilizes low-energy camera technology from Sony.
Source: JAXA via Futurism
TLDR: JAXA has shared information about the SLIM project’s spacecraft for lunar exploration, which includes the LEV-2 robotic explorer. The LEV-2 is a shape-shifting robot designed to efficiently traverse the lunar surface. It was developed in collaboration with TOMY, Doshisha University, and utilizes Sony’s low-energy camera technology.