|Names||Lunar Polar Exploration |
|Mission type||Lunar lander, rover|
|Operator||ISRO / JAXA|
|Mission duration||6 months (planned)|
Launcher and rover: JAXA
|Launch mass||≈6,000 kg (13,000 lb) |
|Payload mass||≈350 kg (770 lb) |
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||Suggested: 2024|
|Launch site||LA-Y, Tanegashima|
|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.
In November 2019, ISRO officials stated that a new lunar lander mission was being studied for launch in November 2020; this new proposal is called Chandrayaan-3 and it would be performed by ISRO alone as a repeat attempt to demonstrate the landing capabilities needed for the Lunar Polar Exploration Mission proposed in partnership with Japan in 2024.
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 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 (4.9 ft) depth. Water prospecting and analysis are likely to be mission objectives. Payload proposals from other space agencies might be sought.
On 24 September 2019, in a joint statement by JAXA and NASA discussed possibility of NASA's participation as well.
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.