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Japan To Land Rover On Moon By 2018 Says JAXA

JAXA
(Photo : Getty Images/NASA) Japan's space agency has announced plans to land a rover on the moon by 2018.
Japan's space agency announced this week that the country would land an unmanned rover on the surface of the moon by 2018, joining a small club of three other nations that have landed on the celestial body.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) disclosed its plan to an expert panel, which included members of the cabinet and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry's, writes CNN.

"This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before the plan is formally approved," a JAXA spokesperson told reporters.
If the plan is approved, it is believed the agency will reportedly employ its Epsilon solid-fuel rocket technology to carry and deploy a SLIM (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) onto the surface of Earth's satellite.
Japanese media estimates that the mission will cost in the region of ¥10 billion to ¥15 billion ($83.4 million - $125 million). JAXA spokesperson Chihito Onda told CNN that this estimate was realistic.
Experts believe one of the main missions of the landing will be to perfect soft-landing technologies, which could be used in future manned missions to the moon or perhaps to Mars. Face recognition software found in digital cameras will be built into the craft and repurposed to enable the lander to recognize craters on the surface of the moon, Onda said.
The move could be an attempt by Japan to match of the extraterrestrial success of neighbors China and India - with China's Yutu lunar rover outlasted expectations and India successfully putting a probe into orbitaround Mars on its first attempt.
In 2008 Japan put its SELENE craft - known as Kaguya in Japanese, after a Japanese moon princess from a 10th century folk tale - into orbit around the moon to gather surface data. The data gathered by the craft will be used to calculate a landing site for their rover in 2018.
JAXA has also successfully landed a probe on the surface of an asteroid, which returned to Earth in 2010.
China, the United States and the former Soviet Union are the only other nations to have landed a spacecraft on the surface of the moon.

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