Japan to ditch its first moon mission?

Posted on Tuesday, January 16 2007 @ 12:10:20 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Japan's space agency says it would be better if the country canned its first moon mission, after more than a decade of delays.
The Lunar-A probe was envisioned as planting two seismic sensors on the lunar surface to gather information about the moon's core and learn more about the origins of the Earth's only natural satellite.

But development of the so-called penetrator probes has taken so long that the mission's mother ship, which was built 10 years ago, has fallen into disrepair and would require too much money to fix, said Satoko Kanazawa, a spokeswoman for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.

The mission would have been Japan's first to the surface of the moon, and was originally scheduled for lift off in 1995. Japan will now scrap the mission but finish development of the penetrator probes and offer the technology to other space programs, including Russia's, Kanazawa said.
A final decision will be made later this month.