Japan hopes to have a two-legged robot walk on the moon by around 2020, with a joint mission involving astronauts and robots to follow, according to a plan laid out Friday by a government group.
Specifics of the plan, including what new technologies will be required and the size of the project's budget, are to be decided within the next two years, according to Japan's Strategic Headquarters for Space Development, a Cabinet-level working group.
Development of a lunar robot is part of a broad framework outlined by the group, which is charged with plotting a new course for Japan's space strategy. As a next step, joint exploration of the moon involving robots and astronauts will be considered.
The framework is to be finalized late next month, after the public has a chance to comment on the proposals.