Japan Exploring Manned Missions to MarsPosted: June 1, 2014
The Yomiuri Shimbun: The science and technology ministry will pursue manned Japanese exploration of Mars through international cooperation as part of the nation’s space program, ministry sources said.
It is the first time the government has incorporated Martian exploration into the country’s space program, according to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.
The plan was submitted to a panel of experts run by the ministry to discuss space program-related issues, including international space exploration following the end of the International Space Station operation. It will be finalized as early as next month and reported to the government’s Committee on the National Space Policy.
According to the ministry draft, the government will gradually advance the plan, which includes unmanned exploration and long-term settlement on the moon.
Participating nations would share the massive financial costs and technological development efforts required for manned missions to Mars.
The outline also notes the necessity of exploiting the experience and technology gained through the ISS project to efficiently develop technology for long-term living in space. The significance of manned Mars exploration lies in its potential to boost Japan’s industrial competitiveness and proficiency in science and technology, according to the draft.
Conducting manned explorations of Mars was also discussed during the International Space Exploration Forum, a meeting of cabinet-level officials held in January in Washington, at which participants tentatively set a target in the late 2030s. The United States has also been working on the completion of Orion, a next-generation spacescraft, in a similar time frame.
- Japanese government targets Mars mission and moon settlement (smh.com.au)
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