The Land of the Rising Sun hopes to be able to put its astronauts on the moon sometime during the 2020s as part of an international program to build a space station in the moon’s orbit, local Iomiuri newspapers reported, citing sources in the government.
Tokyo believes that contributing to the multinational mission and sharing Japanese technology in water and air purification and to protecting astronauts from radiation will land it a spot at the station, from where it could eventually put an astronaut on the moon and boost Japan’s status as a space power.
NASA, together with other leading space agencies, is going to launch the construction of a modular station orbiting the moon sometime in the early 2020s as part of an ambitious project of sending astronauts beyond the International Space Station, Iomiuri wrote.
If the leading space agencies of Europe, Canada, Russia and Japan, now working together at the International Space Station, join the Deep Space Gateway program in exchange for contributing their space modules and transport ships, they could be able to send their astronauts to the future station in the moon’s orbit.
NASA, for its part, is offerings to make the outpost available for training future expeditions to the moon’s surface.
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Space agencies are also mulling the idea of building a landing module to shuttle between the station and the moon.