Japan announces ambitious Moon exploration program


Japan has announced an ambitious revision of its space policy, which would focus on putting boots on the Moon by the end of the 2020s. 

The plan also involves sending a Moon probe in 2024, developing a rover for the Artemis program and generating solar power in space. 

The plan was announced on December 28, 2021, in a meeting of the Strategic Headquarters for Space Development, with the attendance of the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. 

“Not only is space a frontier that gives people hopes and dreams but it also provides a crucial foundation to our economic society with respect to our economic security,” Fumio said, according to Reuters. 

The focus of the changes is Japanese participation in the Artemis program, a NASA-led effort that includes landing astronauts on the Moon and establishing a base there. 

The revised Japanese plan intends for the first non-American astronaut on the Moon to be Japanese, and for Japan to be the provider of at least some robotic rovers that would accompany manned missions. 

Japan is the second Asian country after China to rapidly increase its ambitions of space exploration. China has also announced an intention to perform a manned mission to the moon in the 2030s. 

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