Team to continue plugging away at lunar probe project

TOKYO (The Japan News/ANN) - The Japanese team participating in an international lunar probe competition announced it might miss the end of March deadline for sending its unmanned rover to the moon. Takeshi Hakamada, 38, the leader of the private-sector team, made the announcement at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday. 

 Hakuto means white rabbit in Japanese. Team Hakuto and its Indian competitor were aiming to send their rovers aboard the same rocket. However, they were unable to launch the rocket mainly due to a lack of funds on the Indian side and a delay in the development schedule for a module for landing on the moon.
 In the contest, participants compete on a range of tasks including having their rovers travel at least 500 meters on the moon’s surface. Five teams are taking part, but none have reached the moon’s surface as yet.
 Team Hakuto will continue to look into taking on the lunar probe challenge after the deadline by talking with the Indian side and negotiating a deadline extension with the U.S. foundation sponsoring the competition.