Saturday, November 18, 2017

Possible India-Japan Lunar Sample Return Mission

India and Japan may collaborate on a lunar sample return mission in the not too distant future:

India plans to visit the moon a third time and also return, with Japan for company this time. 
Their lander and rover mission will bring samples back from moon, the chiefs of the two space agencies said on Friday. 
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have started to work out the contours of their joint trip — which will be the third for both countries. They did not say when it would be sent. 
The plans are in the early stages: ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space, A.S.Kiran Kumar, and JAXA president Naoki Okumura said the ‘implementation arrangements’ are likely be reached in a couple of months. The pre-phase studies to decide the scope of work — or the focus of the mission — should be clear in the next six months. 
They were addressing a news conference in connection with the annual Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum APRSAF-24 which met here over the last four days.
Dr. Okamura said that with this collaboration, “India and Japan will lead the space sector in the Asia Pacific region. We hope we can do it as soon as possible. It is not easy as we are understanding each other’s [goals and capabilities].”

Isro chairman AS Kiran Kumar on Friday announced a Indo-Japanese joint lunar mission. 
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of 24th Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF), he said that India and Japan have decided to take up a joint lunar mission. 
"We've just now decided to work together in this regard. We will discuss modalities and clarity would emerge in about six months," he said.
Kiran Kumar clarified that there would not be any participation from other countries in the mission. 
"We want to study traces of water which Isro established on the soil of the moon. We want to take some samples, bring them to earth for further studies," he said.

New Delhi: The Indian Space Research Organisation chief AS Kiran Kumar on Friday said that both India and Japan are working towards a joint lunar mission, which will hopefully take place soon.
"We are looking at a possible joint lunar mission which is still in a very preliminary stage. We are working on the details at the moment," state-run ISRO's Chairman told media persons here.

India and Japan will collaborate to send a joint mission to the moon, which includes landing a rover and bringing samples back to the earth, a feat that was last achieved over four decades ago.

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) Chairman A S Kiran Kumar and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) President Naoki Okumara said on Friday that an implementation agreement for the collaborative mission will be finalised within the next two months.

"We can do as soon as possible," said Okumara on timelines, but did not elaborate much. Both the countries have increased cooperation due to efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. The space agencies plan follows the November 2016 agreement signed during PM Modi's visit to Japan, where they agreed on collaborating for deep space explorations.

They may try to get it done as soon as possible, so as not to lag too far behind China, if not beat it outright. China was due to launch its own lunar sample return mission Chang'e 5 this month, but that's been delayed until 2019 due to the crash a few months ago of their Long March 5 heavy lift rocket.

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