Japan aims to land unmanned rover on Moon by 2018

Japan aims to land unmanned rover on Moon by 2018

Japan's space agency has disclosed a plan to land an unmanned rover the Moon, Earth's natural satellite, by the year of 2018.

In the plan disclosed to an expert panel consisting members of the cabinet and the Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology Ministry, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) also estimated that the endeavor would cost $83.4 million to $125 million.

However, the ambitious plan has to first gain approval from the country's federal government.

Chihito Onda, a spokesperson for the space agency, said, "This is an initial step and a lot of procedures are still ahead before the plan is formally approved."

In 2008, Japan put its SELENE craft (Kaguya) into Moon's orbit to collect surface data about the celestial body. The data collected by SELENE will be used to land a rover on the celestial body's surface in 2018.

The plan is apparently a part of Japan's efforts to match the extraterrestrial success of China and India. While China's Yutu lunar rover surpassed expectations, India successfully put a spacecraft into Mars' orbit in very first attempt.

The United States, former Soviet Union, and China are the only other countries that have successfully landed spacecrafts on Moon's surface.