SORA-Q(Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2(LEV-2)), an ultra-compact transformable lunar robot developed by Japanese toy manufacturer TOMY Company, Ltd., together with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA), Sony Group Corporation, and Doshisha University, is aiming for the Moon.
‘SORA(宙)’ means universe in Japanese. As for the letter “Q”, it is named after the English words “Question” and “Quest”, the Japanese word “Kyu” (reads as ‘q’) means sphere, and the robot’s silhouette that resemble the shape of the letter “Q” in the alphabet.
The robot is ultra-compact, weighing approximately 250g, and transforms from a spherical shape with a diameter of approximately 8cm into a robot on the Moon’s surface.
SORA-Q can move freely on its left and right wheels and utilize the camera on its head to take photographs and perform other missions on the Moon’s surface.
SORA-Q is installed on the Small Lunar Module “SLIM” aboard the Japanese H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 47.
The launch of the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 47 was originally scheduled for August 26, 2023. However, due to the failure of H-IIA to launch and weather conditions, the launch has been postponed three times. To date, a new launching date has yet to be determined.
We are very much looking forward to seeing this very cute robot on the Moon!
SORA-Q Official Website (Japanese) SORA-Q｜タカラトミー (takaratomy.co.jp)
Homma Yumiko（本間 由美子）a member of JSLA and an attorney at GVA LPC
本間 由美子 | 日本スペースロー研究会 (japan-space-law-association.org)
Yumiko Honma｜GVA法律事務所 (gvalaw.jp)