JAXA is the latest space agency wanting to send astronauts to the moon

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) hopes to construct a manned lunar base in 2030 but still has not been given the proper budget for the project.  Some experts estimate that the project may cost up to $30 billion USD.

Junichiro  Kawaguchi, head of Japan's lunar and planetary exploration program, hopes to also send Japanese astronauts to the moon by 2020.  The astronauts would then start construction on the base which JAXA hopes will take under 10 years to construct.  Satoki Kurokawa, JAXA spokesperson, believes the plan is realistic:  "The feasibility of the plan is unclear at this point as we need to gain understanding by the government and the Japanese people on our plan, but technologically it would be possible in a few decades."   

JAXA has ambitious plans for space exploration in the future:  The organization first plans to launch a satellite next year, followed by three unmanned spacecrafts.

Several other space programs have high hopes of sending manned missions to the moon.  The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) hopes to send astronauts back to the moon by 2015, so that supplies can be left for a possible manned mission to Mars.  The Swedish are also trying to colonize the moon with a self-sustaining lunar base that would have a symbiotic relationship with Earth.  The Chinese space agency, which has had a number of successes lately, plans to have the nation's first moon walk by 2024.

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