Introduction of Research

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Leading Research for Future
Research on space exploration

It is very important for Japan to strengthen the basis of its exploration technologies, in order to maintain its position as a leading country in international exploration and for its own space exploration endeavors to the Moon and Mars.

We are conducting researchs to promote space exploration missions in the near future by exploiting advanced Japanese technologies.

The value of Our Research

Space agencies, including JAXA as the key member, are now coordinating plans for internationally collaborative space exploration targeting the Moon and Mars. In addition, several of Japan's own exploration missions are also being studied.

Acquiring the advanced key technologies for these space exploration missions contributes to expanding humankind activity in space as a scientific and technological power house, and to securing Japan’s position in the international space exploration program. This acquisition will result in securing the rights for utilizing resources at the Moon and Mars. It will also make it possible to continuously deliver the top scientific achievements to society.

In order to research such technologies effectively with limited resources in terms of personnel and funding, we are strategically planning and conducting the research by investigating the cutting-edge technologies of other countries and the coordination of international space exploration, and by cooperating with national research institutes and the laboratories of private companies.

Research Goals

The ISS/International Space Exploration Sub-Committee published a "Second Report of "International Space Station & International Space Exploration Subcommittee"". The report states that the most important next steps are to acquire the technologies for landing on a gravitational body and to explore the south pole of the Moon, and also identifies the four areas to be primarily advanced: (1) Technologies for landing /takeoff on/from a gravitational body, (2) Technologies for exploration of a gravitational body (energy, traverse, and handling), (3) Technologies for habitation, and (4) Technologies for logistics in deep space, such as rendezvous technologies.

The space exploration promotion team in JAXA, on the other hand, has developed “the comprehensive Japan’s space exploration scenario,” which is to be advanced along with technology roadmaps of the four areas above proposed. Based on this technology roadmaps, and considering Japan’s advantage and originality, innovativeness and future potential, specific themes are to be selected and researched. Specific themes include:

Landing technologies

Development of image navigation for landing on the poles of the Moon, and hazard avoidance technologies

Conceptual drawings of the south pole of the moon
Exploration technologies (energy, traverse, and handling)

Development of a lithium ion battery with high energy density and a wide operating temperature range;
Research on the crawler type traverse mechanism suitable for traversing on a slope

Habitation technologies

Development of air and water regenerating technology that requires no water resupply;
Development of technologies for protecting astronauts against the severe deep space radiation environment

Rendezvous technologies in deep space

Development of a navigation senor package that includes highly accurate 3D LIDAR using Japan's advanced light sensor technology, and a safe and robust relative navigation algorithm