Joe Biden wants to put a Japanese astronaut on the moon
President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have reaffirmed their plans to send Japanese astronauts to the upcoming lunar space station, confirming the possibility of Japanese astronauts walking on the moon during future Artemis missions.
Biden and Kishida met in Tokyo on Monday to discuss the implementation of a possible agreement to keep a Japanese astronaut on the Gateway space station. The leaders reaffirmed each country’s commitment to sharing data on climate change. The discussion around Gateway staff is part of an ongoing conversation between the US and Japan about NASA’s upcoming mission to the moon.
The Gateway is an integral part of NASA’s major effort to return to the moon, a series of upcoming missions known as the Artemis program. Once built, the gateway will act as a lunar orbit and support lunar-bound astronauts for their visit. The lunar space station will serve as an important infrastructure for the Artemis mission, as well as a staging point for future crew missions to Mars. The first pieces of the upcoming lunar station will not be launched before November 2024.
“In recent years, the alliance between Japan and the United States has become stronger, deeper and more capable as we work together to embrace new challenges – as well as opportunities in a rapidly changing world,” said President Biden. NASA press release.
According to the White House fact sheet, Japan and the US are interested in placing Japanese astronauts on the lunar surface during the yet-to-be-decided Artemis mission. NASA plans to land astronauts at the moon’s south pole by 2025, and Artemis will include the first crew lunar mission since Apollo 17 in 1972. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement: “We are excited to see Japanese and American astronauts walk. The moon reflects the shared values of our nations to explore space responsibly and transparently for the benefit of humanity on earth. “
With just a few years to go before the first pieces of the gateway are launched, teaming up the US and Japan is an opportunity to get more nations involved. The Artemis mission will be a global endeavor, and the return to the moon is an exciting step forward in space research and engineering.