Space

Japanese astronauts could be first on Moon in decades

Japanese astronauts could be f...
Japan's space agency has expressed interest in sending astronauts to the Moon by 2030 (NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell pictured) 
Japan's space agency has expressed interest in sending astronauts to the Moon by 2030 (NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell pictured) 
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Japan's space agency has expressed interest in sending astronauts to the Moon by 2030 (NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell pictured) 
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Japan's space agency has expressed interest in sending astronauts to the Moon by 2030 (NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell pictured) 

Japan could send astronauts to the Moon by about 2030, according to the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). To do so, the agency plans to chip in towards a Moon mission led by NASA, which is being using as a testbed for an eventual manned trip to Mars.

Getting humans to Mars is a massive undertaking, so NASA plans to test the required technology with missions much closer to home first. In 2019, an unmanned Orion capsule is due to do a lap of the Moon and return to Earth, in advance of a human crew making the trip from 2021. After that, NASA is planning to build a lunar space station called the Deep Space Gateway, designed to act as a hub to extend the reach of humanity further into space, including a manned mission to Mars.

By contributing towards this project, JAXA hopes to earn a place at the station, acting as a springboard for an eventual mission to send an astronaut to the lunar surface. Japanese national broadcaster NHK reported that JAXA expressed interest in the idea at an education ministry meeting on June 28.

Currently, Europe, China and Russia are planning manned Moon missions in the early 2030s, but if JAXA's plans get off the ground, Japanese astronauts could be the first to walk on the lunar surface in decades.

While the Japanese plans are still fairly unofficial at this stage, NHK believes that a more official proposal will be submitted next year.

Source: JAXA via NHK

9 comments
Bob
We haven't been back to the moon since scientists and engineers quit using slide rules. Think about it.
Buellrider
I would say the Japanese will be the first to people to land on the moon. Seems to me if the U.S. had actually landed on the moon then we'd have been back. Nope. All filming done on a sound stage. If the Japanese do go to the moon they should land exactly where the U.S. claimed to have landed and give us photo graphic evidence, photos of the flag and foot prints and the like. Don't think for a second that landing on the moon is some easy feat, especially back in 1969.
gbsderm
Not that this will help Buellrider's irrational claims but: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/multimedia/lroimages/apollosites.html
Douglas Bennett Rogers
There are a bunch of positions that are patently silly. This is one of them. If you dig deep, you will see that they are all tied to the flow of money. The Apollo Program was designed to put a man on the Moon as quickly as possible. For this purpose it was a resounding success. Having beaten the Soviets to the Moon, we were essentially done with the program. Therein lies the impetus for the deniers.
akarp
lol @ Buellrider.
CharlieSeattle
Good Luck!
Kristianna Thomas
Yes we landed on the moon, collected some rocks to add to our collection of rocks; and have not been back there since. Japan and other countries want to make a permanent base on the Moon [Luna]. They want to make it as a means of testing new technologies that would take us to Mars, but is Luna the best place to test out the technologies that would take us out of the cradle of civilization. We have sent robots to Mars, but we have yet to send a human beyond the gravitational pull of Earth (a falling object towards the greatest pull of gravity). As humans we need to physically move around, unless we are in a deep sleep and don't have to move about. How do we know how the body would respond beyond Microgravity? How much radiation is there between Earth and Mars; what about Earth and the outer planets? Will we ever bring gravity with us as a means of being able to stand up right, and not float around like fish in water.
EZ
It seems to me the Japanese gov. should spend their money right here at home cleaning up their ecological disaster that continues to pollute the Pacific. It's probably already killing aquatic life in the ocean, not to mention wreaking havoc on the food chain.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think it is cool that other countries are not only going into space but also to the moon. One country could support another in space in case something happens. It is ships coming to another ships help when something goes wrong. I think Japan can do this since they are so advanced in so many areas.