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JAXA to launch lunar explorers as early as February

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TOKYO - The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will launch two lunar probes on a U.S. rocket as early as next February as part of the U.S.-led Artemis program, with Japan aiming to land an explorer on the surface of the moon for the first time.

Developed by JAXA and the University of Tokyo, the shoebox-sized Omotenashi and Equuleus probes will be launched into lunar orbit with NASA's Orion spacecraft and nanosatellites from the U.S. and Italy.

Omotenashi will attempt to land on the moon using a rocket to control its descent. It will also measure radiation levels around the moon, collecting data that will be utilized for future manned missions.

It is hoped that universities and companies will be able to develop lunar landers at a low cost in the future.

Equuleus will take advantage of the gravity of the Earth, moon and sun to reach the moon with less fuel over a period of six months to a year. It will also observe meteorite impacts on the lunar surface as it approaches the moon.

Published : November 28, 2021

By : The Japan News