The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recently announced their plans to land on the moon by the year 2018. Representatives of JAXA stated that they were currently working on being able to land an unmanned rover on the moon’s surface. As only three countries have done so previously, being able to join in on the ability to successfully land equipment on the moon would help Japan advanced in space exploration. But a representative for the agency said that there were still many steps to take care of before the plan was ready to be approved.
According to sources, the plan that JAXA is currently working on will be one that will help them land a rover on the moon, using their solid fuel rocket technology, Epsilon, to deploy and land a SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon), that will most likely carry face recognition software, that will allow it to later recognize craters in the moon.The only problem in the plan will be the ability for JAXA to perfect the soft-landing technologies for the rover.
JAXA told CNN that the mission would cost about $10 to $15 billion yen ($83.4 – $125 million U.S. dollars). This amount may not be out of their reach if JAXA can finalize their plan for a successful moon landing by 2018. As the agency has also previously sent out Kaguya, a SELENE craft into orbit around the moon, the data collected from Kaguya will be used to find the perfect landing spot for their moon rover.
In the recent past, Japan also successfully landed a probe on the surface of an asteroid and made an unsuccessful mission to mars in 1998, which due to technical glitches was abandoned in 2003. But with the small budget that JAXA has to work with, they have not been able to advance much in space exploration. If Japan wants to be successful in landing on the moon, JAXA will have to find funding, which means their plan will have to be solid.
With China, the United Stated and the former Soviet Union being the three countries who have successfully landed on the moon, Japan will be playing catch-up with JAXA’s mission, but if successful could possibly help them to perfect things to open up the possibility of manned missions to the moon, after the year 2025. This is, of course, the eventual goal of JAXA.
JAXA representatives announced their plan to land on the moon by the year 2018 to a group of high members of the cabinets of the Education, Science, Sports, Culture, and Technology ministries. Their announcement Monday let their plans be known, and though the year 2018 is still three years away, JAXA will be hoping to finalize plans quickly and begin collecting funding for their mission to the moon.
As the world is seeing advanced things in the area of space exploration, it may soon also see even more possibility for universal exploration and travel. Though JAXA has been on a tight budget in recent years, the agency’s plan to continue making headway in major space exploration and gain funding through possible other sources, or even in the fiscal year of 2018, shows just how ready they are to keep up with the competition and make history.
By Crystal Boulware