Japan is determined to spend some time on Mars with the help of automated machines. In partnership with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), construction company Kajima is set to develop machinery that will build facilities on the red planet. Each will accommodate at least four people.
The autonomous system is expected to be ready by 2030, but will be used on the moon first. Mars will be the target ten years later.
JAXA is the world’s fourth largest space agency, according to Digital Trends. With a $2 billion budget each year, it follows the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the ESA (European Space Agency) and the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).
According to Nikkei Asian Review, the machinery will use Kajima’s existing system called Automated Autonomous Advanced Accelerated Construction System for Safety, Efficiency, and Liability (A4CSEL). A4CSEL has been used for dam construction in Japan. Its machines follow instructions from human operators via Global Positioning System (GPS).
Interestingly, the construction company looks forward to developing machines that communicate with each other. Errors such as collisions and work duplications are expected to be avoided.
Japan’s first mission to Mars is Nozomi (Planet-B), which aimed to research on the interaction between the planet’s upper atmosphere and solar wind. It also attempted to observe and study magnetic field, satellites and planetary surface. It was launched on July 4, 1998 (JST) from the Kagoshima Space Center in Uchinoura, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science records.
However, the world’s first mission to Mars is Marsnik 1, which came from the USSR. Launched on Oct. 10, 1960, it is also known as Korabl 4 and Mars 1960A. According to NASA, it aimed to investigate the interplanetary space between Earth and Mars and return surface images, among others. However, it was unsuccessful as it failed to reach Earth orbit.
Whether or not Japan succeeds in its mission is yet to be known, but the world will surely be watching.