Lunar Polar Exploration Mission


Lunar Polar Exploration Mission(LUPEX)
NamesLunar Polar Exploration
LUPEX [1][2]
Mission typeLunar lander, rover
OperatorJAXA / ISRO
Mission duration6 months (planned) [3]
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerLauncher and rover: JAXA
Lander: ISRO
Launch mass≈ 6,000 kg (13,000 lb) [4]
Payload mass≈ 350 kg (770 lb) (lander with rover) [5]
Start of mission
Launch date2024 (planned) [1][2]
RocketH3 [6]
Launch siteTanegashima, LA-Y
ContractorMitsubishi Heavy Industries
Moon lander
Spacecraft componentRover
Landing siteSouth polar region
Moon rover

The Lunar Polar Exploration mission (LUPEX) is a robotic lunar mission concept by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) [7][8][9] that would send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon in 2024.[1][2][6] JAXA is likely to provide the under-development H3 launch vehicle and the rover, while ISRO would be responsible for the lander.[8][10]

The mission concept has not yet been formally proposed for funding and planning.[11]


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)[12] to explore the polar regions of Moon for water[13] with a joint Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX) that would be launched by 2024.[1][14]

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.[15]

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.[16]

On 24 September 2019, in a joint statement by JAXA and NASA discussed possibility of NASA's participation as well.[17]

JAXA finished its domestic System Requirement Review (SRR) in early 2021.[18]


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.[19][10] For precision landing it would utilize a feature matching algorithm and navigational equipment derived from JAXA's Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) mission.[4][20] The lander's payload capacity would be 350 kg (770 lb) at minimum.[5][3][21] 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.[22][3] Water prospecting and analysis are likely to be mission objectives.[8][23] Payload proposals from other space agencies might be sought.[7][20]


Few selected Japanese instruments along with the candidate instruments of ISRO and the invited international collaborators by JAXA.[18][24]

  • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR): Underground radar observation up to 1.5 meter during rover traverse. (ISRO)
  • Neutron Spectrometer (NS): Underground neutron (hydrogen) observation up to 1 meter during rover traverse. (NASA)
  • Advanced Lunar Imaging Spectrometer (ALIS): H
    /OH observation of the surface and drilled regolith.
  • Exospheric Mass Spectrometer for LUPEX (EMS-L): Surface gas pressure and chemical species measurement. (ESA)
  • REsourceInvestigation Water Analyzer (REIWA): Instrument package of the four instruments.
    • Lunar Thermogravimetric Analyzer (LTGA): Thermogravimetric analyses of the drilled samples for water content.
    • TRIple-reflection reflecTrON (TRITON): Identification of chemical species of the volatile component in the drilled samples based on mass spectrometry.
    • Aquatic Detector using Optical Resonance (ADORE): Water content measurement in the drilled samples based on cavity ring-down spectrometry.
    • ISRO Sample Analysis Package: Mineralogical and elemental measurement of the drilled samples. (ISRO)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Malvika Gurung (20 May 2019). "After Mars, ISRO to Set a Date with Venus". Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "After Reaching Mars, India's Date With Venus In 2023 Confirmed, Says ISRO". The Times of India. 18 May 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "国際協力による月探査計画への参画に向けて参考資料" (PDF). MEXT.GO. 29 August 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 October 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b "月離着陸実証(HERACLES)ミッションの紹介 と検討状況" (PDF). 28 January 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 November 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b Hoshino, Takeshi; Wakabayashi, Sachiko; Ohtake, Makiko; Karouji, Yuzuru; Hayashi, Takahiro; Morimoto, Hitoshi; Shiraishi, Hiroaki; Shimada, Takanobu; Hashimoto, Tatsuaki; Inoue, Hiroka; Hirasawa, Ryo (November 2020). "Lunar polar exploration mission for water prospection - JAXA's current status of joint study with ISRO". Acta Astronautica. ScienceDirect. 176: 52–58. doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2020.05.054. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b Shimbun, The Yomiuri (30 July 2019). "Japan, India to team up in race to discover water on moon". The Japan News. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  7. ^ a b "India's next Moon shot will be bigger, in pact with Japan". The Times of India. 8 September 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021. 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.
  8. ^ a b c "Episode 82: JAXA and International Collaboration with Professor Fujimoto Masaki". Astro Talk UK. 4 January 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  9. ^ "Global Exploration Roadmap - Supplement August 2020 - Lunar Surface Exploration Scenario Update" (PDF). NASA. August 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2021. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  10. ^ a b Hoshino, Takeshi; Ohtake, Makiko; Karouji, Yuzuru; Shiraishi, Hiroaki (May 2019). "Current status of a Japanese lunar polar exploration mission". Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  11. ^ Sidharth, M. P. (18 May 2019). "ISRO planning 7 interplanetary missions, Venus on the to-do list". DNA India. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  12. ^ "Welcome to Embassy of India, Tokyo (Japan)". Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  13. ^ Harding, Robin; Kazmin, Amy (4 January 2018). "India and Japan prepare joint mission to the moon". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 4 January 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  14. ^ Goh, Deyana (8 December 2017). "JAXA & ISRO to embark on Joint Lunar Polar Exploration". SpaceTech Asia. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Progress Of Lunar Polar Exploration Mission" (PDF). October 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  16. ^ "ISRO Will Embark on Chandrayaan 3 by November 2020 for Another Landing Attempt". The WIRE. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  17. ^ "JAXA - Joint Statement on Cooperation in Lunar Exploration". JAXA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. 24 September 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  18. ^ a b "Current Status Of The Planned Lunar Polar Exploration Mission Jointly Studied By India And Japan" (PDF). 18 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  19. ^ Sasaki, Hiroshi (17 June 2019). "JAXA's Lunar Exploration Activities" (PDF). UNOOSA. p. 8. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b NASA Exploration Science Forum 2019 - Masaki Fujimoto. NASA. 23–25 July 2019. Event occurs at 3 minute 6 seconds. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Objective and Configuration of a Planned Lunar Polar Exploration Mission" (PDF). 1 February 2020. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Japan Sets Sights on Moon with NASA and India". 23 October 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Six-day cruise lies ahead for India's Chandrayaan-2 probe before the real lunar shenanigans begin". The Register. 14 August 2019. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  24. ^ 月極域探査機(LUPEX) 【オンライン特別公開 #26】. JAXA. 7 April 2021. Event occurs at 10 minute 8 seconds. Retrieved 7 April 2021.