National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Jim Bridenstine recently held a press conference at the Tokyo office of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
On the “Artemis” lunar exploration program, which the U.S. Trump administration is pursuing in order to send U.S. astronauts to the moon in 2024, he noted that “if Japan and the U.S. work together, astronauts of the two nations will be able to stay and carry out activities together on the lunar surface.”
On his visit to Japan, he noted: “Frankly speaking, [my trip here] was not easy and involved some expense too. I came to Japan to call on the Japanese government for support.” He did not clearly indicate when Japanese astronauts might be able to go to the moon.
The U.S. plans to build the “Gateway,” a new space station that will orbit the moon, through international cooperation. It places priority on completing the necessary components in preparation for traveling to the moon.
The Japanese government is considering joining and extending cooperation for both projects.
Meanwhile, it has been pointed out that sending astronauts to the moon in 2024 could entail technological difficulties.
“We have judged that putting off the project could increase the political risks,” he said.