Japan has announced a new ambitious plan to put humans on the Moon around 2030. The move comes as both India and China are involved in greatly developing their space programs.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) was created in 2003 after the merger of three former space organisations into one. It conducts basic space research and participates in ongoing space missions.
But Japan’s space history and involvement in major space missions dates back many more years. Japanese astronauts have carried out important work at the International Space Station (ISS), and in 1997 Takao Doi became the first Japanese astronaut to do a spacewalk.
With the announcement that JAXA would like to put astronauts on the Moon in coming decades, it’s the first time that the country has talked of sending someone beyond the International Space Station.
The plan is to first join a NASA-led mission in the mid-2020s to build a space station in the Moon’s orbit, as part of a longer-term effort by NASA to reach Mars.
Between 2018 and 2030, astronauts will indeed be conducting a series of missions near the Moon to test human capabilities to live and work on Mars. Astronauts on the ISS are only hours away from Earth, but these Moon missions will take place further away and as such, they are a stepping stone to a Mars mission … (read more)
Japan wants to put its own astronaut on the moon in 2030
Japan has revealed ambitious plans to put an astronaut on the Moon around 2030 in new proposals from the country’s space agency.
This is the first time the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has said it aims to send an astronaut beyond the International Space Station, an agency spokeswoman told AFP on Friday.
The idea is to first join a NASA-led mission in 2025 to build a space station in the moon’s orbit, as part of a longer-term effort by NASA to reach Mars.
Tokyo hopes that contributing to the multinational mission and sharing Japanese technology will land it a coveted spot at the station, from which it could eventually send an astronaut to the Moon, the spokeswoman said.
The plan was presented at an education ministry panel this week, with a more formal blueprint expected next year, according to public broadcaster NHK.
The announcement comes as China and India develop their space programs.
In November, China’s Shenzhou-11 spacecraft returned to Earth, bringing home two astronauts from the rising power’s longest-ever orbital mission.
Beijing has also unveiled illustrations of a Mars probe and rover it aims to send to the Red Planet at the end of the decade … (read more)