The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has ambitious plans to put an astronaut on the moon sometime around 2030, according to new proposals from the space agency. This is the first time JAXA has publicly explored sending astronauts anywhere beyond the International Space Station, a JAXA spokeswoman said Friday.
The idea is to first join a NASA-led mission in 2025 to build a space station in the moon’s orbit — part of a longer-term effort by NASA to reach Mars.
Tokyo hopes that contributing to the multinational mission and sharing Japanese technology will land it a coveted spot at the station, from which it could eventually put an astronaut on the moon, the spokeswoman said.
The plan was presented to an education ministry panel on Wednesday and a more formal blueprint is expected next year.
According to JAXA, it plans to make contributions to the multinational mission by developing water and air purifiers and technology to protect astronauts from radiation to be used for the space station.
It will also work on developing a probe to enable astronauts to move between the space station and the moon, using the technology of an unmanned probe it plans to send to the moon in fiscal 2019.
If NASA can make an international lunar orbiting station by 2025 then Japan wants to manned trips to the moon by 2030