While Lockheed Martin and General Motors presented their autonomous rover in Washington, which can operate on the surface of the moon, the Japanese and Canadian space agencies have also announced their wish to land a motorized vehicle on our satellite.
The Japanese space agency JAXA confirmed on May 26th that it was talking to several private companies in the archipelago about the development of such a mission. The aim is to send a tiny rover, no bigger than a baseball, over the dusty surface of our satellite. This mission could be launched by JAXA in 2022, it would be the first lunar mission of a completely new program for the Japanese who want to launch a much larger rover on the lunar surface in the coming years. The latter is currently being designed at JAXA’s headquarters, which works with the help of Toyota.
Next year’s mission involving JAXA and CSA, the Canadian space agency, will be carried out by a private company, ispace. The company’s lander is set to land on the satellite from a Falcon 9 in 2022, according to Takeshi Hakamada, the company’s founder and CEO. During a press conference, he stated that this agreement with JAXA reserved all of the country’s “slots”. “Mission 1” is currently being assembled and tested in an ArianeGroup plant in Germany.
Canada also wants its share
Canadians outnumber the companies that have planned to fly to the moon on the ispace lander. Mission Control Space Services will control a computer on the lander to test artificial intelligence algorithms used to aid the operations of the Rashid rover, an Emirati object that is expected to reach the moon in the coming years. Canadensys Aerospace Corporation is also expected to offer a camera that can take 360-degree images of the lunar surface. For its part, NGC Aerospace Ltd will be testing a navigation system that will take images of the moon from orbit and compare them with maps for a more accurate position.
Canada, though discreet, and now one of the most important nations in the space world, and the CSA’s presence in the geopolitical landscape of space is growing day by day. In addition to this numerical presence within the Japanese lander, the CSA was to contribute a robotic arm to an upcoming NASA mission: Canadarm3. This Canadian contribution is intended to ensure a human presence with the Ottawa Agency in the Artemis 2 mission on the way to the moon.
The moon: the goal of all agencies
More than 50 years after Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the ground of our satellite. The moon is now more attractive than ever to space agencies, and everyone wants to return or return to the surface of the moon. Our satellite is indeed an ideal object of conquest for space agencies. If getting to the surface of our satellite is still a major technical challenge, the mission is much less dangerous than to Mars, the other great source of fantasies within the space agencies of recent years.
Almost every month a new space agency announces that it will reach the moon in the next few years. The United Arab Emirates will be one of the last to join the fun. You, who have one of the most ambitious space programs, plan to reach the surface of our satellite in the next two to three years. After successfully launching a probe into orbit around Mars, the success of a lunar mission could further cement this tiny Gulf state’s place on the international space scene.