After a decades-long lull, interest in the moon is back — this time led by startups, including Tokyo-based ispace Inc., which is hoping to land two of its miniature rovers on the lunar surface in 2021. Akane Imamura is part of ispace’s team racing to make that deadline, and their ultimate goal is nothing short of making the moon not only habitable, but home to an ecosystem of thriving businesses.
In this Next Jobs mini-doc, Bloomberg Technology‘s Aki Ito talks with Imamura about designing a lightweight but sturdy miniature rover that can traverse and explore the moon’s surface: This Engineer Could Make Living on the Moon a Reality.
That includes everything from shaping the wheels to handle the moon’s topography to choosing materials that can keep the machine both resilient and a maximum of 22 pounds, including any cargo. She’s also helping refine parts of the lander slated to carry the two rovers to their destination in 2021.
Imamura and Ito visit the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to test the rover in a large moon simulation room, and then discuss some the challenges of being a working mother with a demanding career in Japan.
Plus, more videos about women in STEM jobs, including Becoming Visible: Shattering stereotypes & misconceptions in science, Dr. Mae Jemison, NASA Astronaut: I Wanted To Go Into Space, and France A. Córdova – Nautilus’ Spark of Science.