NASA and Japan agree to collaborate on space mission to the Moon

NASA and Japan agree to collaborate on space mission to the Moon

WASHINGTON, DC - NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Masahito Moriyama signed an agreement to promote sustainable human exploration of the Moon.

Japan will design, develop and operate a pressurized rover for manned and unmanned exploration of the Moon. NASA will provide launch and delivery of the rover, as well as two opportunities for Japanese astronauts to travel to the lunar surface.

"The search for the stars is led by nations that explore the cosmos openly, peacefully and together. This is true for the United States and Japan under the leadership of President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida," Nelson said.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida also announced "a shared goal for a Japanese citizen to be the first non-U.S. astronaut to land on the Moon on a future Artemis mission, assuming significant benchmarks are achieved."

The pressurized lunar rover is intended to allow astronauts to travel farther and work for longer periods on the lunar surface.

The signing took place at NASA headquarters in Washington. Along with Nelson and Moriyama, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) President Hiroshi Yamakawa also participated in the signing.

"The United States will no longer walk alone on the Moon. With this new rover, we will discover groundbreaking discoveries on the lunar surface that will benefit humanity and inspire the Artemis Generation," Nelson added.

The space agency reported that an enclosed, pressurized rover will allow astronauts to travel farther and conduct science in geographically diverse areas by serving as a mobile habitat and laboratory for astronauts to live and work for extended periods of time.