The Japanese government said Friday the nation should do everything it can to send a robot to the moon by 2020 followed by a human astronaut 10 years later in order to explore the moon’s natural resources. Japan, a country famously poor in natural resources, has a space development strategy task force in place that’s ready to execute the plans and is headed by the Prime Minister.
The task force says by 2030, the robot and the astronaut should collaborate in exploring the possibility of developing natural resources on the moon. Last year, India managed to launch its first moon probe, and China celebrated the first spacewalk of a Chinese astronaut so Japan is risking to lose ground in the Asian space race.
At the moment, Japan is represented through a presence aboard the International Space Station (ISS). If the government says yes to the plans, Japan would become the fourth country that sends a human being into space on a rocket (following Russia, the US and China).