11 months ago
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) revealed ambitious plans to put an astronaut on the moon by 2030.
This is the first time JAXA has planned to send an astronaut beyond the orbiting International Space Station.
The idea is to first join a NASA-led mission in 2025 to build a space station in the moon’s orbit. That initiative is part of a longer-term effort by NASA to reach Mars.
A spokeswoman from JAXA said the agency hopes that by contributing to the multinational mission and sharing Japanese technology it will land a coveted spot at the station. From that launching point, Japan could eventually send an astronaut to the moon.
The plan was introduced at an education ministry panel this week. A more formal blueprint is expected next year.
The announcement comes at a time when the space race seems to be reheating up. Beijing also unveiled illustrations of a Mars probe and rover it aims to send at the end of the decade. In November, China’s spacecraft returned to Earth after the country’s longest-ever orbital mission.
And in March, a bill signed by President Donald Trump directed NASA to send a manned mission to Mars in 2033.