India and Japan to reach for the moon together, inform officials

ISRO and JAXA are planning to join hands in order to conduct a "joint lunar mission"

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief AS Kiran Kumar recently informed the press that India and Japan are currently working towards a joint lunar mission soon. "We are looking at a possible joint lunar mission which is still in a very preliminary stage. We are working on the details at the moment," said state-run ISRO's chairman, adding that the relationship between the two countries' space agencies has witnessed a "visible change" in the recent years.

"The relationship between India and Japan in terms of the space agencies has had a visible change. We are working together for possible future cooperative missions," said the ISRO chairman while attending the 24th Session of Asia Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF) in Bangalore, India. Heads of the space agencies of 10 countries across the Asia-Pacific region, government bodies and industries related to space programmes were also present at the event.

While speaking about the upcoming India-Japan lunar mission, Naoki Okumura, the president of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), said: "India and Japan have been having collaborations in the space sector, which helps us share our knowledge and technologies. I believe that India and Japan will lead the space sector in the Asia Pacific region through these collaborations."

Both the countries have conducted successful moon missions in the past.

In 2009, JAXA's lunar orbiter spacecraft Selene had landed on the surface of the moon after successfully orbiting the moon for a year and eight months. The country had launched its first ever lunar probe Hiten Spacecraft in the year 1990.

India, on the other hand, had launched its first lunar probe in 2008 through Chandrayaan-1 and currently, it is gearing up for its next lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, which is scheduled to take off in March next year.

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India and Japan are also having talks over using their advanced space technologies for providing inputs on weather monitoring. They are also looking forward to gathering data together for climate change studies, informed the officials.