Japan's space agency says it is considering a mission to the moon by 2018 or early 2019, part of an effort to beef up aerospace technology and keep pace with China and other emerging powers.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency included the possibility of a lunar landing in its summary of moon exploration plans by Japan and other countries. Japanese media reported Tuesday that JAXA presented the proposal for an unmanned mission to a government panel Monday.
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The agency still needs to win funding for the project. But it is raising hopes for a revival of space exploration. And the public broadcaster NHK showed satellite images of the Japanese islands, alit at night, and of the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, as possible attractions for passengers of space flights.