Japan revised the schedule of its space exploration plans on Tuesday, aiming to put a Japanese person on the moon by the latter half of the 2020s.
“Not only is space a frontier that gives people hopes and dreams but it also provides a crucial foundation to our economic society with respect to our economic security,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told a meeting to finalise the plan.
According to the draft schedule of the plan, Japan aims to put the first non-American on the moon as part of the Artemis programme, a US-led initiative that aims to return astronauts to the moon.
The plan also spells out Japan’s aspirations to launch a probe to explore Mars in 2024, as well as to find ways to generate solar electricity in space.
Neighbouring China also aims to become a major spacefaring power by 2030, and it too plans to put astronauts on the moon, raising the prospect of an Asian space race.