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Japan: Hakuto robot rover undergoes testing ahead of moon mission03:04

Japan: Hakuto robot rover undergoes testing ahead of moon mission

Japan, Tottori Sand Dunes
September 27, 2016 at 09:11 GMT -00:00 · Published

Hakuto's PFM3 pre-flight model underwent testing in Tottori Sand Dunes, Tottori Prefecture, Tuesday.

Hakuto's privately developed rover is scheduled to be launched from Earth by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and then deployed onto a lunar orbit. Once landed on the moon's surface, the rover is set to travel more than 500 metres (1,640 feet) on autopilot while bypassing craters and rocks. The rover is also to capture so-called mooncasts, high-resolution, 360-degree images of the lunar surface, which the researchers say the rover will then send back to Earth. The device will compete with other rovers in Google Lunar XPrize competition.

Engineer Louis-Jerome Burtz said that the team had come to Tottori Sand Dunes "to have a lunar analogue environment [because of] the sand, the open spaces and the lack of vegetation [that are] very similar to [those of the] moon," noting that "the main objectives are the camera tests, time of flight and sensor tests."

"So we are looking at how we can get images on all four cameras of the rover to have 360-degree panorama [shots] and also how the time of flight, which is an obstacle detection sensor, can find the rocks and automatically stop the rover when it sees a mission-endangering obstacle," the engineer added.

Burtz also emphasised the importance of the test, saying "these field activities are actually useful for solving real problems here on Earth also."

Japan: Hakuto robot rover undergoes testing ahead of moon mission03:04
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Description

Hakuto's PFM3 pre-flight model underwent testing in Tottori Sand Dunes, Tottori Prefecture, Tuesday.

Hakuto's privately developed rover is scheduled to be launched from Earth by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and then deployed onto a lunar orbit. Once landed on the moon's surface, the rover is set to travel more than 500 metres (1,640 feet) on autopilot while bypassing craters and rocks. The rover is also to capture so-called mooncasts, high-resolution, 360-degree images of the lunar surface, which the researchers say the rover will then send back to Earth. The device will compete with other rovers in Google Lunar XPrize competition.

Engineer Louis-Jerome Burtz said that the team had come to Tottori Sand Dunes "to have a lunar analogue environment [because of] the sand, the open spaces and the lack of vegetation [that are] very similar to [those of the] moon," noting that "the main objectives are the camera tests, time of flight and sensor tests."

"So we are looking at how we can get images on all four cameras of the rover to have 360-degree panorama [shots] and also how the time of flight, which is an obstacle detection sensor, can find the rocks and automatically stop the rover when it sees a mission-endangering obstacle," the engineer added.

Burtz also emphasised the importance of the test, saying "these field activities are actually useful for solving real problems here on Earth also."

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