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Japan Planning Manned Lunar Base Within 20 Years


Officials with Japan's space agency say they are making plans establish a manned lunar base by 2025.

The officials were responding to a report in a Japanese newspaper (Mainichi Shimbun) that said the agency wants to send an unmanned probe to the moon by 2010, while building a reusable manned space craft similar to the U.S. space shuttle.

Japan's space aspirations were boosted by last Saturday's successful launch of its H-2A rocket that placed a communications satellite into orbit. An H-2A rocket was destroyed in November 2003 when it malfunctioned shortly after launch.

That mishap occurred just one month after China successfully carried out its first manned space mission, following in the footsteps of the United States and the former Soviet Union. Beijing has since announced plans for its own lunar mission.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP.

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