|Names||Lunar Polar Exploration|
|Mission type||Lunar lander, rover|
|Operator||JAXA / ISRO|
|Mission duration||6 months (planned) |
|Manufacturer||Launcher and rover: JAXA|
|Launch mass||≈ 6,000 kg (13,000 lb) |
|Payload mass||≈ 350 kg (770 lb) (lander with rover) |
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||2024 (planned) |
|Launch site||Tanegashima, LA-Y|
|Contractor||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries|
|Landing site||South polar region|
The Lunar Polar Exploration mission (LUPEX) is a robotic lunar mission concept by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) that would send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon in 2024. JAXA is likely to provide the under-development H3 launch vehicle and the rover, while ISRO would be responsible for the lander.
The mission concept has not yet been formally proposed for funding and planning.
ISRO signed an Implementation Arrangement (IA) in December 2017 for pre-phase A, phase A study and completed the feasibility report in March 2018 with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore the polar regions of Moon for water with a joint Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX) that would be launched by 2024.
ISRO and JAXA held the Joint Mission Definition Review (JMDR) in December 2018. By the end of 2019, JAXA concluded its internal Project Readiness Review.
Since Chandrayaan-2 could not soft land on Moon in September 2019, India started to study a new lunar mission namely Chandrayaan-3 as a repeat attempt to demonstrate the landing capabilities needed for the LUPEX.
JAXA finished its domestic System Requirement Review (SRR) in early 2021.
The Lunar Polar Exploration mission would demonstrate new surface exploration technologies related to vehicular transport and lunar night survival for sustainable lunar exploration in polar regions. For precision landing it would utilize a feature matching algorithm and navigational equipment derived from JAXA's Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission. The lander's payload capacity would be 350 kg (770 lb) at minimum. The rover would carry multiple instruments by JAXA and ISRO including a drill to collect sub-surface samples from 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) depth. Water prospecting and analysis are likely to be mission objectives. Payload proposals from other space agencies might be sought.
For our next mission — Chandrayaan-3 — which will be accomplished in collaboration with JAXA (Japanese Space Agency), we will invite other countries too to participate with their payloads.