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A Japanese astronaut will go to the moon as part of NASA's Artemis program

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Apr13,2024

Japanese astronaut to go to the moon as part of NASA's Artemis program

Under a new agreement between the United States and Japan, another astronaut to set foot on the moon will be a Japanese astronaut. This was announced by US President Joe Biden during the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio on April 10.

To date, only 12 people – all Americans – have landed on the moon as part of the NASA program Apollo from 1969 to 1972. America's Artemis program aims to return astronauts to the moon as early as late 2025, with the first landing of the program's planned third mission in 2026.

The crew of Artemis 2 will consist of four people. The new lunar exploration agreement signed by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Masahito Moriyama does not specify which Artemis missions JAXA astronauts will participate in, but it depends on cooperation “important indicators”.

“Japan will develop a lunar rover for NASA,” Nelson said in a video message. JAXA and Toyota are collaborating on a lunar rover that uses Toyota's fuel cell technology to power the vehicle. The Lunar Cruiser, named after the Toyota Land Cruiser, is designed for multi-day trips.

"This is a mobile habitat, a lunar laboratory, a lunar house and a lunar rover. This is a place where astronauts will be able to live, work and move on the lunar surface», — said Nelson.

The Lunar Cruiser that NASA will send to the Moon is expected to be ready by 2031 for use by the Artemis 7 crew, and then serve subsequent missions for 10 years.

"The lunar rover will be a major contribution to the overall Artemis architecture, as Japan and the US will go hand in hand with international and industry partners on the lunar surface and beyond", — said JAXA president Hiroshi Yamakawa.

The Japanese lunar rover will complement a smaller, leaky vehicle that is being developed by three American companies. Intuitive Machines, Lunar Outpost, and Venturi Astrolab are working on lunar rover (LTV) concepts for shorter-distance use by Artemis astronauts.

In addition to landing two Japanese astronauts on the moon, NASA and JAXA previously agreed to send a JAXA crew member to Gateway lunar orbit in exchange for Japan providing the manned platform's environmental control and life support systems, as well as covering some of the need to deliver cargo to the moon.

JAXA currently has five active astronauts – Satoshi Furukawa, Akihiko Hoshide, Kimiya Yui, Takuya Onishi and Norishige Kanai (3). two candidates – Makoto Suwa (Makoto Suwa) and Ayu Yoneda (Ayu Yoneda) – to prepare for future lunar missions.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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