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Tech and Japan

Moon Probe "Hakuto" to Challenge 5oom+ Lunar Run

By May 11, 2017 at 11:32 pm

This follows up the earlier episode ("Japan's Maiden Moon Probe Ready for Liftoff Next Year) on Japan's challenge to the world's maiden race on the lunar surface engineered by Google. The liftoff is slated for December 28 this year.

Hakuto, or "white hare", is a gem built by a group of engineers in the 30's - one who has forfeited his steady work just to devote his time and effort to this project; others who cared to contribute their private funds to support it. The liftoff slated for year's end, the project is now in its final stage of preparation.

The moon surface fluctuates in temperature - over 100C°in the daytime and way below -150C° at night and intense cosmic rays constantly cover the entire surface. The ground heavily undulates and powdery sands and rocky stretches lie intermixed. Rovers would have a hard time covering the surface if not well equipped to overcome such hindrances.

Harder still, a rover can not afford to topple over, or else there would be little chance of recovering its position. This calls for efficient remote-maneuvering communication skills to keep the vehicles in position.

The nearly complete latest model of Hakuto is a carbon body 58 cm long weighing 4 kilos equipped with five cameras to view 360 degrees all around. It has over 2000 parts, of which 70% consisting of everyday consumer products for cost-saving. The vane wheels allow the vehicle to travel over the sands and a special coating over the outer body cuts off the strong sunlight.

Takeshi Kanda, 37, leader of the Hakuto project, comments:

"A charming fact is that space is yet to have an industry. We develop resources in space and by so doing we can create economy in space.
"My idea is to create a world in space where we humans can build a zone of life, so to say."

Good show, Hakuto. (Nathan Shiga)

Source: NHK

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