Japan has always been the leading developer for new and interesting technology and electronics. With a nation that brought the world such feats of innovation such as Pokemon, Sony Playstation, and square watermelon, one would think that space exploration would be a thing of the past or something that the nation has already conquered. Sadly, this is not the case. Considering that only three nations made the frontier into space, Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is set to make the moon landing there next project in the coming years.
Instead of wasting valuable dollars and time by training a well organized group of astronauts, JAXA is taking a more modern approach by sending a rover into space. According to sources, the company is in the beginning stages of making a plan to land on the Earth’s mover of oceans. JAXA plans to utilize their solid fuel rocket technology, Epsilon, to land a small rover with face recognition technology equipped. The rover, Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM), will explore the desolate moon and examine craters and rock formations. Although a routine and basic procedure, in terms of Moon exploration, the project is not set to go into motion until 2018.
The reason for much of the delay in production and planning are JAXA’s lack of proper funding. The company needs a reported ten to fifteen billion yen (roughly 80-120 million US dollars) to move forward with SLIM. Money is definitely an issue and could completely freeze their plans if nothing is put into motion by 2018. Though JAXA has already launched a probe, a craft, and a unsuccessful mission landing on Mars, this will be the first time in the nation’s history for a successful moon landing.
JAXA has already proven that they are capable of planning a successful landing. In 2007, the agency launched the Kaguya probe into space to capture images of the moon’s surface. The images gathered from the probe will be used to find a solid location and docking area for the upcoming soft landing of the SLIM rover.
Japan has also accomplished a successful landing of the Hayabusa one and two probe on the ItoKawa asteroid. The advanced landing technology developed by JAXA proved to be more than successful as the probe made it with no technical difficulties. Though the mission was a positive moment for the company, the technology for the landing will have to readjust as the gravitational fields for the moon vary from an asteroid.
One landing that did not seem to take flight was JAXA’s attempt at the their first Mars exploration. The mission was first brought to fruition in 1998, at the height of Japan’s mission into space, but later abandoned in 2003. Due to technical difficulties and a lack of proper technical savvy, the mission was the nation’s first failed attempt at being the first to explore the red planet.
As far as space exploration goes, China and USA are the leading nations in exploring that frontier. Most may remember the rush to make it onto the moon during the times of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union, but since that time not much advancement or attention has been paid to exploring deeper into space. With JAXA’s latest development, they hope to further build on the ambition of the 60’s and place their citizens on the moon by 2025. All that stand in the way are proper funding and technology.
By Tyler Cole
The Public Slate:JAXA Plans to Land on Moon By 2018
Tech Times:Japan Aiming for Moon Landing By 2018 According to JAXA
Design & Trend:Japan To Land Rover On Moon By 2018 Says JAXA