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Space Science

Japan Scrapping Moon Mission 70

jonerik writes to mention the AP is reporting that Japan may be scrapping their upcoming moon mission. The original plan was for the "Lunar-A" probe to implant two seismic sensors on the moon, however, the project took so long that the delivery probe has fallen victim to neglect and would take too much money to repair. From the article: "The mission would have been Japan's first to the surface of the moon, and was originally scheduled for lift off in 1995. [...] JAXA's space development committee recommended canceling the Lunar-A project on Monday, and a final decision will be made later in the month, [Satoko] Kanazawa said."
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Japan Scrapping Moon Mission

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  • They realized that the on-going battle between the Japanese Security Services and Godzilla was diminishing their funds too quickly to afford the moon mission. There are plans for a Mothra powered earth orbit rentery rocket, but the spacesuit for a 400' wingspan moth is also too costly. Ultraman is unable to go more than 14.7km up, due to his 70's early technology.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @12:59PM (#17615258)
    Son't they know it's easier to just fake a moon mission?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @01:04PM (#17615334)
    > Currently, only the United States, Russia and the European Union have landed probes on the moon.
    Nor did ESA. SMART-1 crashed into the Moon, that's not called landing.
    • Sure its a landing! It may be a crash landing, but it is still a landing.
      • Hey, any landing you can walk away from is a good... What's that, unmanned probe. Completely destroyed you say. Never mind.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by VAXcat ( 674775 )
          Landings are an important subject in learning to fly. My instructor told me they are so important, they include at least one in every flying lesson.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Crash landing implies some degree of survival is intended and feasible. The ESA probe SMART-1 intentionally bought it at 4,500 miles per hour. I reckon the probe would sustain more than a few bruises.

        Probe survival was not the intention of the ESA's deliberate action of crashing the probe into the moon (so they can examine the plume for stuff etc.), therefore I can't call it a crash landing .. I have to call it a crashing or better yet a slamming.

        Hmm I hate arguing over semantics, cause it's silly. Hopefull
        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          Eh, I will strive to right this vile slander against the ESA. They deliberately slammed the probe into the Moon? Sounds like a crash landing to me. Everything they wanted to survive, survived.
  • ...that even the Japanese can fail to make delivery deadlines and have productivity problems.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Actually if you look at JAXA, almost everything they have done is a failure. It's interesting because Japan isn't a poor country(in terms of GDP it's #2 in the world), is famous for its science and technology education(whether or not that reputation is deserved is another issue), and has relatively healthy funding. And yet, almost nothing but failure has come out of JAXA. To be sure NASA has had failures as well, but NASA has had resounding successes to match. JAXA really hasn't. Why is that? Is it ju
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        It is because of the lack of technology exports and because the Japanese government is not the same as Japanese industry. Japan is a great place for perfecting technologies, but they suck at inventing things (if you don't believe me compare the total number of Japanese Nobel Prizes to what the US got in just physics or chemistry from 1990-2006). And their government is generally inept (but in a good way since it doesn't restrict industry). If they wanted to see a Japanese space program take off they woul
        • by Alinabi ( 464689 )
          What about the Nobel Prize laureates who were educated in Japan but worked in the US? Which column do I count them in?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by 0rionx ( 915503 )
        Although there are probably a number of factors at play here, primarily JAXA is simply just chronically underfunded. Similar to the system used for many software developers, they were given a certain amount of funding based on achieving certain checkpoints. However, for the most part they were weighted heavily toward the end of the missions. This is only speculation, but it's likely JAXA was forced to skimp on some things in order to reach their budget checkpoints. Furthermore, if one project became bog
      • >>>> "Actually if you look at JAXA, almost everything they have done is a failure."

        I'd be interested if you have any information on their failures. One of the companies I've been dealing with has been doing work for them, and although I gave this company a pretty crappy quality write-up, my upper management decided they'd stay as they must be doing 'something right' if they're doing work for JAXA....

        Oh dear.
      • It's a cultural thing. The Japanese don't consider a vessel to be spaceworthy until it can transform into a giant robot.
    • what with battling godzilla and all those other monster fellers, i can see why Japan put space exploration on the back burner....(i am glad this is a typed reply so that my mouth and sound don't appear out of sync.) i suggest they deploy an orbital device with ground penetration radar to pre-empt the monster intrusions........and to promote good will, pay layed off united auto workers to man ground control (after they complete a payed retraining program funded by the U.S. Dept. of labor..)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 15, 2007 @01:12PM (#17615464)
    if you are laying this rocket up to be unused for more than six months:

    1) Park in a well aired garage
    2) Jack up the body and put chocks under the suspension points
    3) Fill all cylinders with a good quality mineral oil
    4) Unplug and remove the battery
    5) Be prepared to replace perished rubber components such as tyres or suspension bushes if unused for more that one year

    What bit do you think the Japanese left out?

  • by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @01:29PM (#17615664)
    Next time they won't keep the probe in the U-Pack-It long term storage garages in Kobe.

    Or at least put a tarp over it or something.
  • After the super successful launch of the PS3 why doesn't the Japanese space agency just contract the job out to Sony!
  • by tehSpork ( 1000190 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @01:59PM (#17616130)
    Japan will now scrap the mission but finish development of the penetrator probes and offer the technology to other space programs, including Russia's, Kanazawa said.

    Only in Japan...
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by GuyMannDude ( 574364 )

      apan will now scrap the mission but finish development of the penetrator probes and offer the technology to other space programs, including Russia's, Kanazawa said.

      Ten bucks says they're tentacle-like in appearance.


  • by Anonymous Coward
    Does anyone else find it strange that with all the public support moon missions received in the past, that nobody has gone to the moon in so long? The guy who wrote the book that Oliver Stone's JFK was largely based on had some ideas [amazon.com] about this... Only book I've ever read like this that used appropriate qualifiers and didn't just present evidence that argued for UFO's (i.e. he presented information which made it clear that many witnesses were lying or unreliable. That still left a whole lot of reliable o
    • Read the book or rent the movie. Talks alot about this. Many people, including many scientists and historians, don't believe the US ever went to the moon. It really was a piece of propaganda during a very communist-paranoid time in our history.
      • Also, for this conspiracy theory, it certainly doesn't bode well that NASA just lost all of the high-quality moonwalk footage. Seems sort of strange given its relative historical and scientific value.

        http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/one-giant-blun der-for-mankind-how-nasa-lost-moon-pictures/2006/0 8/04/1154198328978.html [smh.com.au]
        • by maggard ( 5579 ) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Monday January 15, 2007 @09:07PM (#17622248) Homepage Journal

          NASA did not "just lose" the footage, indeed there was no "footage" (as in film) to lose. Rather the original downlink recordings were misplaced decades ago. It was only recently discovered that those recordings were of significantly higher quality then what was retransmitted and seen by the rest of the world. Therefore there is now a search on for those original source recordings. This search has been fairly high profile including significant stories in Wired Magazine, AP newswire stories, etc.

          If you're going to imply conspiracies at least have the well known facts right.

          • I certainly don't think it is a conspiracy. I was merely saying that the misplacing of the footage adds fuel to the fire of the conspiracy theorists. Whether it was misplaced decades ago or not is immaterial.

            In the eyes of the conspiracy theorist, the fact that recordings of the most significant event of the last millenium was lost is proof enough that it simply didn't happen.
      • Non-Technical Proof Of The Moon Landings by Arthur Paliden © 2006 In 1969 the Americans first landed men on the moon. Now some people have made names for themselves by saying that this and subsequent landings never happened. Their position is that NASA faked them in order to save face and fool the public. To prove their point they rely on explanations of the reported events using dubious science and lay explanations that any first year science major would and does, laugh at. However, they always mi
  • by Anonymous Coward
    In Other News, The Canadian Government has announced its plans for a similar mission to take place, which is going to be called "Lunar-eh"

    Film at 11.
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday January 15, 2007 @02:48PM (#17616844)
    A Japanese Mars probe, originally timed to arrive with that of the NSA rovers and ESA Beagle limps [bbc.co.uk] through space. It ran out of fuel.

    The Hayabusa asteroid probe probably landed on one and got a sample, failed [newscientist.com] on its return earth, schedued this summer. Bad computer programs and running out fuel is blamed.

    Academic research in Japan is mostly on a shoestring budget, and I guess this is a result. I hope they keep on trying.
  • The Japanese probably figured they ought to spend the money on more pressing terrestrial concerns [123pichosting.com].


  • "The original plan was for the "Lunar-A" probe to implant two seismic sensors on the moon"
    who cares about moonquakes when they are super affected by earthquakes and the giant waves they cause. I say put the moon sensors in the ocean floor instead. Maybe that's what they'll do
  • What, repeating vintage 1969 American technology is beyond the reach of 2007 Japan, even though what it has to do to land a person on the Moon is now proven, and the equipment has 30 years of further development?

    Or are they just feigning incompetence to get America to do the (literal) heavy lifting, and put Japanese space exploitation teams and gear up there?

    I know I would, if I could.
    • What, repeating vintage 1969 American technology is beyond the reach of 2007 Japan, even though what it has to do to land a person on the Moon is now proven, and the equipment has 30 years of further development?

      Well, first of all, it's not like everyone has access to that stunning 1969 technology and merely needs to build the next iteration of it. You will notice, that even the Americans lack the ability to reproduce that particular feat, and there's not a bunch of other people running around on the surfa

    • What, repeating vintage 1969 American technology is beyond the reach of 2007 Japan, even though what it has to do to land a person on the Moon is now proven, and the equipment has 30 years of further development?

      It's not the tech, it's the human factor. Today, the Apollo landings would be considered too risky, too hazardous for the crew. Back then we would mourn the loss, but essentially say the astronauts volunteered and they knew the risks. Especially given their military and test pilot backgrounds. T
      • I dunno, we did mourn and move on after Challenger's 1986 destruction, and again after the 2003 Columbia destruction. It's true that NASA has been largely paralyzed since Columbia, combined with recklessly sending new misions despite serious risks. That shows the mismanagement and opportunism of the Bush administration, which sees the shuttle as a symbol, and a way to militarize the space program. But that's an aberration, not the overall operation of the space program over the past 37 years since Apollo's
        • NASA was paralyzed after Challenger, not just Columbia, probably more paralyzed. Contrast these two with the Apollo 1 fire.

          Regarding political opportunism, I think your post exemplifies the modern tendency to do so. *Every* administration views the space program as a status symbol, and both parties have supported the Air Force's desire to militarize space. With respect to risky missions to Mars, *all* missions to Mars are currently risky and given that they are robotic that is not too much of an issue. T
          • No, Star Wars is a Republican programme. The Democratic Congress voted in the 1980s to kill it, and any successor programs. Though Bush Sr continued to fund it covertly or through "voodoo budgeting". The Republican Congress of the 1990s started refunding it, through Bush Jr. It's Bush Jr's military priority, which is one reason why we're losing the Afghanistan and Iraq wars through mismanagement and strategic misdirection, why we're cultivating nuke missile threats in Iran and N Korea. And why Bush just app
      • None of that happened with the shuttle.
        • None of that happened with the shuttle.

          There are two shuttles losses, Columbia in 2003 and Challenger in 1986. In 1986 there was a little excitement among Democrats that they might be able to pin the blame for launching on Reagan. Political behavior has deteriorated since then, and it wasn't all that high in 1986 to begin with.
  • Kamogawa Asumi [wikipedia.org] would be sad.
  • I was so looking forward to Crazy Hibachi when tourists went to the moon... mmmmmm moon sushi.

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents