An international working team consisting of ISS partners is studying the NASA-proposed “Gateway,” a cis-lunar platform concept.
During its assembly phase, Gateway will house up to four crewmembers, who will conduct approximately 30-day missions. The structure will be approximately one-sixth the size of the ISS.
The assembly is planned to completed in 2028 with the cooperation of international and industrial partners. Canada has announced that it will contribute to the Gateway, while Japan, Europe, and Russia are still considering.
The Gateway is proposed to be placed in a near-rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) around the Moon. This orbit allows continuous communication with the Earth.
NRHO requires only 70% of the energy needed for a Low Lunar Orbit (LLO), and enables easy access to the LLO from the Earth, reducing transportation costs. NRHO furthermore provides a good long view of the lunar south pole, allowing service as a communication relay for south pole exploration.
Potential JAXA Contributions to Gateway
JAXA will engage in detailed technical deliberations of possible contributions, such as providing technologies and practices cultivated through the ISS program and H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) resupply transportation missions.
We are presently exploring two potential contributions: Contribution to the International Habitation Module (I-HAB) in cooperation with ESA through the provision of JAXA's Environmental Control and Life Support System; contribution through the logistic resupply by the advanced HTV-X, which is currently under development.
of the Moon and Mars
Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon （SLIM）
- Demonstration of pinpoint lunar landing technologies
- Mass: 210 kg at the time of landing
- Landing Accuracy: Up to 100m
- Science Instruments: Multi-band camera for mineralogical characterization
- Science Objectives: Characterization of rocks from deep interior
Lunar Polar Exploration Mission
- Explore lunar polar region suitability for establishing a lunar base for sustainable activities
- Obtain knowledge regarding availability of lunar water-ice resources
- Demonstrate lunar and planetary surface exploration technologies such as vehicular transport and overnight survival.
Martian Moon Exploration (MMX)
- Sample return from a Martian moon
- Investigate the origins of Martian moons and water in the primordial solar system
- Investigate suitable areas for a future Martian base
Human Lunar Surface Exploration Precursor (HERACLES)
- Small-scale international robotic exploration mission technologies for human landings
- Technology demonstrations for lunar landings, surface exploration, and sample return
STUDY ON BROAD
LUNAR SURFACE EXPLORATION
The Moon has only one-sixth the gravity of the Earth. Its terrain is full of craters, cliffs, and hills, and it is an ultrahigh vacuum environment exposed to high levels radiation and extreme temperatures.
Realizing broad human lunar surface exploration will require a pressurized rover capable of exploring over 10,000 km in that severe environment.
The following are our goals for the early 2030s:
Determine 5 candidate exploration areas
Operate two pressurized rovers (2029–2034)
Conduct a mission (42 Earth days; 2 lunar days, 1 lunar night)
WITH THE INDUSTRY
JAXA promotes collaboration with enterprises for sustainable lunar exploration. We also promote collaborations outside of space exploration by utilizing our Space Exploration Innovation Hub, which aims to encourage research and development among different types of businesses, and J-SPARC, which aims to create new private businesses.
Cooperation with academia is a key to promoting international space exploration while utilizing knowledge and expertise gained through previous exploration activities. In this way, JAXA will continue to promote future space science.