[meteorite-list] Japan Plans To Land Rover on Moon in 2018

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 4 May 2015 16:18:15 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201505042318.t44NIF5W010428_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


Japan plans to land rover on moon in 2018
By Euan McKirdy
CNN News Service
April 26, 2016

Japan's space agency announced this week that the country would put an
unmanned rover on the surface of the moon by 2018, joining an elite club
of nations who have explored Earth's satellite.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), divulged the plan to an
expert panel, including members of the cabinet and the Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology Ministry last week.

"This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before
the plan is formally approved," a JAXA spokesperson told reporters.

If it is approved, the agency will reportedly use its Epsilon solid-fuel
rocket technology to carry and deploy a SLIM probe - the acronym stands
for "Smart Lander for Investigating Moon" - on the surface of the celestial

Japanese media estimates that the mission will cost in the region of $83.4
million to $125 million. JAXA spokesperson Chihito Onda said that this
estimate is realistic.

The mission is expected to be used to perfect soft-landing technologies,
which could be utilized in future, manned expeditions to the moon, or
even Mars. The lander will use face recognition software found in digital
cameras, which will be repurposed to enable the craft to recognize craters
on the surface, Onda said.

The move could be seen as Japan's attempt to play catchup to its Asian
neighbors China and India, which have both notched significant extraterrestrial
victories in recent years - China's Yutu lunar rover outlasted expectations
and India successfully put a probe into orbit around Mars.

In 2008 Japan put its SELENE craft - known in Japan as Kaguya, after a
Japanese moon princess from a 10th century folk tale - into orbit around
the moon to gather data about its surface. The data gathered by the orbiter
will also be used to calculate a suitable landing site for the rover.

JAXA has also put a probe on an asteroid, which returned to Earth in 2010.

Along with China, the United States and the former Soviet Union are the
only other nations to have so far landed craft on the surface of the moon.
Received on Mon 04 May 2015 07:18:15 PM PDT

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