JAXA and "ispace" to Start Resources Exploration on Lunar Surface
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency announced December 16 that a memorandum was signed with a private team HAKUTO and its body corporate "ispace" for launching Japan's first lunar exploration car next year.
On resources exploration in space, the US set up legislation last November for the commercial utilization of resources on planetoids and in Europe a plan was presented in February this year in Luxembourg for resources exploration on planetoids.
Meanwhile, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to make a go of studying the feasibility of resources exploration on the lunar surface, and the memorandum signed this time is a key step toward a joint development scheme with Tokyo's "ispace" - a private venture targeting industrialization of the resources in space.
The private team HAKUTO operated by "ispace" plans to launch Japan's first lunar exploration vehicle next year. A series of running tests are in progress in Tottori sand dunes.
Board Director Naoki Okumura of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said in the press conference:
"Moves toward exploration of space resources are active the world over, and we think Japan too should do some studies along this line.
"We should put our heads together to work out how to make an industry of it - bring in information and knowledge at our disposal to study its potential."
JAXA and "ispace" are to jointly work out how to "dig and transport" such resources for the first time in Japan.
Chairman Takeshi Hakamada of HAKUTO, also representative director of "ispace", commented:
"The whole world is watching how resources exploration in space will progress. We find it important now to participate in industrializing space resources exploration and also in working out due international rules.
"In short, we intend to be the flag banner of space resources exploration." (Nathan Shiga)