Team HAKUTO, the Japanese Google Lunar XPRIZE Team managed by ispace technologies Inc., announced today that it has signed a joint research agreement with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to investigate radiation on the Moon.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE is an international lunar robotic competition that challenges privately-funded space exploration teams to land an unmanned spacecraft on the surface of the Moon by the end of 2017. To win the competition, the rover must also travel for more than 500 meters and send high-definition videos and images back to Earth. Team HAKUTO, who recently announced its official project name as the “au HAKUTO MOON CHALLENGE” after partnering with the Japanese carrier KDDI, is now developing its flight model after completing a number of design and engineering improvements.

In this joint research project, Team Hakuto will demonstrate its capability of real-time radiation monitoring with its lightweight lunar micro-rover. By comparing simulated results with the actual data obtained by the rover, JAXA plans to improve the accuracy of its simulation method for future lunar missions.

Presently, there is limited radiation data from the lunar transfer orbit and the surface. In an effort to learn more about the radiation environment on the Moon, HAKUTO’s rover will be equipped with a very light and portable space radiation monitor, an instrument that has been modified from commercial products.

This is the first time JAXA has agreed to conduct joint research on a privately led space exploration mission and as a result JAXA has now become Team HAKUTO’s Supporting Company. With this agreement as a starting point, Team HAKUTO and JAXA will explore a new form of privately led space activities.

About Team HAKUTO

Team HAKUTO, run by the Japanese startup ispace technologies Inc., is the only Japanese team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. The team is comprised of various members including: the members of ispace, Tohoku University, and Pro-Bono experts from various fields. HAKUTO was awarded a Mobility Milestone Prize from Google Lunar XPRIZE in January 2015. For more information, please visit  or @team_hakuto_en.

About JAXA

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is designated as a core performance agency to support the Japanese government’s overall aerospace development and utilization. In 2013, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of its founding, JAXA created the corporate slogan, “Explore to Realize,” which reflects its management philosophy of utilizing space and the sky to achieve a safe and affluent society. JAXA became a National Research and Development Agency in April 2015, and took a new step forward to achieve optimal R&D achievements for Japan, according to the government’s purpose of establishing a national R&D agency.

About the Google Lunar XPRIZE

The $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE is an unprecedented competition to challenge and inspire engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. To win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a privately funded team must successfully place a robot on the Moon’s surface that explores at least 500 meters and transmits high-definition video and images back to Earth, before the mission deadline of December 31, 2017. For more information, please visit  or @GLXP