To boost the mutual relations between India-Japan, the apex space agency of both the countries i.e. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) join hand’s to launch a “Lunar Polar Exploration” Moon Mission after 2023.
Both the nation decided to further deepen their relationship by jointly carrying out a moon mission in outer space. The idea was first made public in 2017 during a multi-space agencies’ meeting that undertook in Bengaluru. Later, when Prime Minister Modi visited Japan in 2018, the idea of space cooperation shaped as inter-government discussions.
As per details shared by Japan’s space agency JAXA, the mission will be launched after 2023; where JAXA will be developing and building the overall landing module and rover, while ISRO will develop a lander system. The mission will be launched from Japan, and the designated vehicle to carry the system will be an H3 rocket, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Both the countries have their independent moon mission programme and they were quite successful in their attempt also but during that period while they graduating from orbiter to forthcoming landing-roving demonstrations, the Chinese undertook four lunar mission from 2007-2014. The recent success to China after their space exploration team of Chang’e-5 and Chang’e-6 collected the sample of few kilograms of lunar soil and rocks for their high-end analyses. This put China on par with countries like United State and Russia which are also planning for human space mission in the 2020s.
“Analysis of observational data suggests the existence of water in the polar regions of the Moon. JAXA is working with ISRO to plan international collaborative missions to obtain data on the quantity and forms of water resources presents, in order to determine the feasibility of utilizing such resources for sustainable space exploration activities in the future.” a spokesperson of JAXA said. Read more at:
India and Japan both are part of the Quadrilateral or Quad-4 platform that helps them to work collaboratively to maintain the geostrategic balance in the Indo-Pacific regions against the Chinese. The China’s techno-economic gap is widening that might not be a good signal for both India and Japan. Thus, it make a sense for a joint moon exploration mission. After Indian government decision of allowing private players in ISRO missions, Japan can offer many valuable technologies to India for their future exploration. The most crucial part of any extraterrestrial sample-return mission is the construction of non-polluting and non-contaminating clean-room infrastructure for the storage of extra-terrestrial samples. JAXA’s Hayabusa series of sample-return missions has resulted in collaborations with companies, like the Hitachi High-Tech Corporation, to develop this.
Lunar exploration technologies that seemed fantasies in the past are now becoming imminent possibilities. The rush to acquire them is resulting in a space race in Asia that is additionally yielding scientific research and techno-economic growth. It is, therefore, important that the new India-Japan outer-space partnership use the lunar mission as an opportunity to fill the gaps, techno-economic and otherwise.