Air transport company Ana Holdings, together with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has launched a new programme, AVATAR X, to boost space exploration using real-world Avatars.

The AVATAR X program is led by JAXA and Ana Holdings Inc. is set to ‘revolutionize space development’. The program aims to speed up the integration of technologies such as robotics, AI, and haptics. The integration of the three technologies will enable human beings to build camps on other planets remotely. It will also support long-term space missions.

The program aims to “”AVATAR X” program launches to boost humanity’s access to the Moon, Mars and beyond”, according to a press release.

AVATAR X hopes to catalyze new space-based businesses that will provide key services and an unprecedented level of access to space. Together with a growing list of public and private partners, that among others include GITAI, a startup developing its own avatar and SpaceVR, a startup hoping to send the first VR satellite into space. Along with such startups is XPRize, as well as larger enterprises like Soft Bank, and construction companies Takenaka Corporation and Obayashi Corporation.

The first phase of AVATAR X will begin this year, where the consortium of partners will construct a roadmap for the program. The second phase consists of building the “AVATAR X Lab@OITA” in Japan’s southern prefecture of Oita. The third phase in the early 2020s, AVATAR X will transport technologies developed at the AVATAR X Lab@OITA to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for testing in space. Once the capabilities of these new technologies are confirmed in the space environment, the fourth phase will begin that involves deploying AVATAR X technology to begin building and further exploring the Moon, Mars and beyond.

AVATAR X will launch with the establishment of the AVATAR X Consortium and working group sessions will commence in October 2018 to propose and discuss the feasibility of new business concepts.

“ANA is driven by a bold and inspiring vision of the future of flight and this boldness doesn’t stop on our planet,”

“Through innovative partnerships, like AVATAR X, we are excited about the possibilities of what we can accomplish and where we can go when the private and public sectors join forces.”

– Shinya Katanozaka, President and CEO of ANA HD.