A screengrab from the Lunar Polar Exploration mission concept video shows the LUPEX Rover

Even as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is gearing up for the launch of the Chandrayaan-3 this year, work on another moon mission involving India and Japan, Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX), has been gathering steam in the last few days.

The Indo-Japanese LUPEX mission is envisaged to explore the permanently shadowed regions or the dark side of the moon.

A team from Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is in India and meeting with ISRO scientists and engineers involved in the LUPEX mission.

“With LUPEX members in India. First face-to-face LUPEX working group meeting since 2019. In Working Group1, the results of the landing site analysis were shared, and opinions were exchanged on promising candidate sites.

The status of ISRO’s instruments on the rover was also shared and the future coordination policy was confirmed,” Lunar Polar Exploration@JAXA(LUPEX) tweeted.

It further said that information on antennas on the ground that send and receive commands and telemetry was also shared, and that there were exchange of ideas on methods for estimating where landers and rovers are on the Moon.

The main objective of the mission is to confirm the presence of water in the polar regions of the moon.

The mission is expected to be launched in the next couple of years. The launch vehicle for the mission will be a Japanese rocket, the lander system will be developed by ISRO while the Rover by JAXA and its landing point will be the south pole of the moon.

Various scientific instruments developed by the two space agencies will also be part of the mission.

“India-Japan space cooperation is currently focusing on lunar exploration, satellite navigation, and earth observation. ISRO and JAXA are specifically working on completing the phase-A study of the joint Lunar polar exploration mission; finalizing the instruments to be accommodated in lander and rover,” stated ISRO in its annual report 2022-23 on the mission.