JAXA/TOMY Company/Sony Group Corporation/Doshisha University
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When Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency launched a moon mission in September, it carried an unusual payload: a small, ball-shaped object called the Lunar Excursion Vehicle 2, designed by Japanese toy maker Tomy in partnership with Sony and Doshihsa University. The LEV-2, which has a diameter of just 8 centimeters across and weighs less than 250 grams, will reach the moon early next year. Once it’s on the lunar surface, the two halves of the LEV-2 will separate, turning into wheels and letting the vehicle traverse the moonscape. The device, which features a tail stabilizer to deal with uneven surfaces, will beam footage from two onboard cameras back to Earth.

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