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Japan is planning an unmanned moon mission for 2019

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Japan's space program announced today that it wants to become the fourth country to successfully land an unmanned vessel on the moon. The scheduled launch date is planned for 2019 and even though it seems like the world is focused on Mars and beyond right now, Japan wants to show off the latest in lander technology. The craft will use facial recognition software to drastically increase landing accuracy. The on-board technology can scan the surface of the Moon and make slight adjustments to touch down within 100 meters of the target landing site -- that's dramatically better than anything America, China or Russia have launched. Completing this project will help beef up the country's standing in space exploration. With this said, if it has taken this long for Japan to reach the moon, wonder what year they're going to get to Mars?

[Image credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]

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