Cooperation between the United States and Japan … back to the moon

The United States and Japan will work together on future lunar missions under the Artemis program: the agreement stipulates that a Japanese astronaut will be aboard the future space station Gateway in lunar orbit. The announcement comes before the meeting in Tokyo between US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. Both have expressed a shared desire to see a Japanese astronaut land on the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis program, which calls for astronauts to return to the moon between 2025 and 2026.”In recent years, the alliance between Japan and the United States has become stronger, deeper, and more capable, as we work together to confront the new challenges – as crucial as the opportunities – of a rapidly changing world,” Biden said. “An excellent example is the Japanese lunar rover: a symbol of how we are decollating our spatial cooperation, looking towards the Moon and Mars. “I’m excited about the work we’re doing together on the Gateway station,” Biden added, “and I can’t wait for the first Japanese astronaut to join us on a Luna trip as part of the Artemis program.”By the end of the year, the two countries will have formalized the presence of a Japanese astronaut on the lunar space station Gateway. In addition, in light of ongoing collaborations, the President of the United States has stated his intention to provide Japan with an asteroid Bennu Campione, which will be launched as part of Nasa’s Osiris-Rex mission, which is scheduled to arrive in September 2023. In contrast, the Japanese will release images of the asteroid Ryugu, which was discovered by the Japanese Space Agency’s Hayabusa 2 mission and will return to Earth aboard a capsule on December 6, 2020.

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Daniele Giordano