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NASA report: “Japan reluctant to join” Mars exploration program

  • May 7, 2016
  • , Mainichi , p. 24
  • Translation

By Kyodo in Washington


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s inspection office released on May 5 a report saying Japan is reluctant to participate in its manned Mars exploration program since Japan has said that “it would be difficult to take part in the program until the role it should play becomes clear.”


The inspection office conducted a survey on the state of NASA’s cooperation with foreign space agencies. It quoted a Japanese government official as saying, “It has become difficult every year to secure funding except for space development that brings concrete benefits to people’s lives such as communications and weather forecasting.”


While developing the next-generation exploration spacecraft “Orion,” which is being built to take humans to Mars, NASA has called on Russia and China to join the program.


The NASA report pointed out that in addition to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), “major European space agencies, including France’s, have not yet made their positions clear.”


The report introduced countries that focus on unmanned exploration using robot technology rather than astronauts, such as India’s unmanned Mars probe “Mangalyaan” and the Europe’s “Rosetta,” a space probe for exploring comets.

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