Japan astronaut to walk on the Moon

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Artemis program
Artemis program
NASA's manned moon program
Purpose
To reestablish human presence on the Moon and lay the groundwork for future Mars missions
Establishment
Formally established in 2017 via Space Policy Directive 1
First Uncrewed Flight
Artemis 1 launched on 16 November 2022
Japan is set to make a significant contribution to lunar exploration through its collaboration with NASA's Artemis program. A Japanese astronaut will become the first non-American to walk on the Moon, marking a historic milestone in international space exploration. This achievement is part of a broader agreement between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), which includes Japan's development and operation of a pressurized rover for both crewed and uncrewed missions on the lunar surface. NASA will facilitate the launch and delivery of this rover to the Moon and will provide two opportunities for Japanese astronauts to travel to the lunar surface. The collaboration was officially announced by NASA and JAXA, with the support of the leaders of both nations, emphasizing the importance of international partnership in advancing lunar exploration and establishing a sustainable human presence on the Moon. The pressurized lunar rover, named the Lunar Cruiser, is expected to enhance the mobility and exploration capabilities of astronauts on the lunar surface, allowing them to travel farther and work for longer periods. It is designed to accommodate two astronauts for up to 30 days and is planned to be used on Artemis VII and subsequent missions over an approximate 10-year lifespan. This partnership is not only a testament to the strong relationship between the United States and Japan in space exploration but also a significant step towards a more inclusive and collaborative approach to exploring the Moon. The agreement also includes provisions for Japan's participation in other aspects of the Artemis program, such as contributing to the Lunar Gateway, a space station in orbit around the Moon that will serve as a hub for astronauts. The announcement has been met with enthusiasm from both nations and the international space community, highlighting the role of diplomacy and international cooperation in achieving ambitious goals in space exploration. The specific details regarding the launch dates and the roles of the Japanese astronauts in the upcoming Artemis missions are yet to be disclosed.
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