Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is set to launch its first lunar orbiter this August. The project, called SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer), is already understandably delayed due to its ambitious nature. In fact, the SELENE is considered to be the largest lunar mission since the US Apollo program. SELENE’s mission is to conduct observations for studies of the ENTIRE moon and not just parts of it. It aims to “collect scientific data on the formation of the moon and its transitional history up to today.”
The SELENE project if successful will not only be a triumph to the scientific community but will also give Japan the edge it seeks to get ahead of China in their heated space race. Japan has grander plans after this project making SELENE a mere (but huge) stepping stone towards a lunar landing and even manned missions to space.
For their awareness campaign JAXA has launched the “Wish Upon the Moon” Campaign where anyone can send their names and messages, which will be delivered by SELENE to the moon.