Although NASA may have trouble returning to the moon by 2024, the US space agency is finally doing what it can to probe the lunar surface, announcing a formal partnership with Japan for the lunar gate.
NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) formally announced an agreement to see JAXA participate in Gateway providing technical expertise, life-saving equipment and environmental control systems, batteries, thermal controls and imaging components.
“We are honored to announce this latest agreement with Japan to support longitudinal human observations on and around the moon as part of the Artemis project,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said in a statement. “Strengthening our international cooperation and commitment with Artemis puts humanity on a stable path towards our common goal of sustainable exploration of the moon by the end of this decade.”;
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A Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and Japan was signed at the end of 2020, the Japanese Foreign Ministry previously said.
In addition, the new agreement will give Japanese astronauts access to a gateway, which NASA said will “be considered after further discussions and documented future arrangements.”
“Taking advantage of the capabilities that international partners engage with with Gateway will be key to making it possible to reach the lunar surface,” added Kathy Lueders, assistant administrator for the Mission, Survey and Human Operations Committee. “We are pleased to move forward in this groundbreaking effort together with Japan and our other allies.”
The gateway, which is approximately one-sixth the size of the International Space Station, will serve as a “meeting point” for astronauts traveling to lunar orbit on the Orion spacecraft before they make their way to lunar orbit. The low, and finally, the surface is used for both human and robotic exploration to the Moon and Mars.
“The capabilities provided by Japan are critical to making the gateway’s internal environment easier for our team to live and work,” said Dan Hartman, Gateway Program Manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in NASA. Houston explained. “With the Japanese life support system, a longer mission for the Artemis team can be accomplished by reducing the need for sourcing, returns of goods.”
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Japan becomes the third international alliance to commit to gateways. In October 2020, NASA and the European Space Agency signed an agreement to cooperate with Gateway.A month later, the US and Canada also signed an agreement to collaborate on the lunar checkpoint.
The Gateway will be used as a base for NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program.In 2019, NASA revealed a vision for the Artemis lunar rover to send US astronauts back to the lunar surface.
Project Artemis, the successor of Apollo Project, is unique for a number of reasons, including the goal of sending the first woman to land on the lunar surface and establishing a sustainable human existence on Earth’s natural satellite.
To date, only 12 of them, all Americans, have landed on the moon. The last NASA astronaut to set foot on the moon was Apollo 17 Mission Commander Gene Cernan on December 14, 1972.
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