It is the first time JAXA has revealed an intention to send Japanese astronauts beyond the International Space Station, and it will mostly likely be part of an international mission, the agency said.
The announcement from Japan Wednesday is just the latest in a series of ambitious space exploration plans by Asian countries, with the increasing competition for space-related power and prestige in the region echoing that of the Cold War space race of the mid-20th century.
In December 2016, China announced plans to land a rover on Mars by 2020 as well as a manned mission to the Moon at some point in the future.
In the first half of 2018, India plans to launch its second unmanned lunar mission — in 2008, it became the fourth country to plant its flag on the moon after the US, Russia and China.
A spokesman for JAXA told CNN the new plan wasn’t to send …
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