Since people became curious with the possibility of settling on another planet, many space agencies have proposed missions to Mars, also known as the “Red Planet.” While these proposals have yet to materialize, Japan has set its eyes on planning a manned mission to the planet in collaboration with other nations.
Many countries have been planning to send manned and unmanned missions to other planets, but the main cause of the delay in doing so is cost. Japan realized that the huge finances and advanced technology needed to send man to a planet is too much for one nation, and has thus sought the help of like-minded countries. In August of last year, 14 space agencies that comprise the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) decided that sending manned missions to Mars is part of its global exploration road map. The ISECG hopes to find success sometime in the 2030s. The plan is to explore the nearby moon and send unmanned missions to Mars to determine how best to land humans on it. Even the United States has announced its plan to send someone to Mars. It was unveiled in 2010 and the target date set by the U.S. was mid-2030s, however, no actual framework and process has been designed for this project yet.
Japan’s science ministry met with an advisory council from the government on May 30 to discuss the possibility of the manned mission. In the meeting, a recommendation to get the support of other countries was highlighted. To do this, the ministry is looking at scheduling an international conference in 2016 with the sole purpose of discussing a mission to Mars and how it is best to make it an international undertaking to ensure its success. Japan hopes that the meeting would begin proposals on how expenses would be divided and allocated, and come up with technology that would make it successful.
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