Japan and India Team Up for Joint Moon Mission

Friday, 17 November 2017 - 11:52AM
Friday, 17 November 2017 - 11:52AM
Japan and India Team Up for Joint Moon Mission
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Image credit: Pixabay
The days of America and Russia dominating the space race are over—India and Japan are officially launching a joint moon mission.

As the world prepares for an era of commercial space exploration, plenty of different countries are looking to get in on the act, setting up their own space agencies, and dreaming up big missions to colonize distant planets.

What's particularly nice about this era of space exploration is that it's not quite as petty and competitive as the original Space Race, and countries are perfectly happy to work together in order to achieve success. Japan and India are looking to join forces to launch a mission to the moon, in the hopes of bringing back rock samples and important data.

At the recent India-Japan Annual Summit that was held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, A S Kiran Kumar of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and Naoki Okumara of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) announced that the two organizations would work together in order to plan and carry out the mission. The full logistics haven't been set in stone yet, with both parties hoping that an agreement regarding the mission parameters can be made during the next two months.

There's no specific timetable for the mission at present—Naoki Okumara has simply stated that they're aiming to get things underway "
as soon as possible." The project looks like it will be a continuation of work that both nations have been doing separately as part of their efforts to explore the solar system, but by combining their forces, they should be able to do so with increased efficiency.

Both countries have made significant discoveries on the moon thus far—Japan's
Lunar Radar Sounder on its Selenological and Engineering Explorer orbiter (SELENE) has discovered an excellent site for a potential moon base, while India's Mars orbiter has been taking some absolutely beautiful pictures of the Red Planet.

While it'll be interesting to see how the joint mission goes and what it manages to learn, as much as this may be a research project, it's also an opportunity for a show of strength from both countries.

Commercial space travel is about to become a phenomenally huge business, and countries around the world are eager to attract companies to their infrastructure. The more that India and Japan can show off their successful ongoing space exploration projects, the more appealing they'll both look to investors hoping to bet money on the future of private space missions.

There's also something to be said for the increase in experience that this mission will provide—training up experts on how to successfully launch a mission to the moon will come in handy in the future, as these commercial projects start taking off at an increased rate. If Japan and India have already launched missions that have taught their engineers and scientists about the logistics of space travel, they'll be in a far better position to build an outerspace economy as more businesses shift their gaze starward.

Perhaps this Space Race is just as exhilarating and competitive as the first one after all—the only difference is how much money is at stake, and that makes smaller players on the interstellar stage more eager to work together, in order to make sure they don't get left behind by the big dogs.
Japan and India Team Up for Joint Moon Mission