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Japan to Build Pressurized Lunar Rover for NASA’s Artemis Missions

moon space exploration

The United States will work with Japan to develop and launch a rover for crewed and uncrewed lunar exploration.

On Tuesday, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Masahito Moriyama, Japan’s minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, signed an agreement to cooperate on efforts to expand their understanding of the moon.

Under the agreement, Japan will design, develop and operate a pressurized lunar rover for future missions. 

The space vehicle, designed as a mobile laboratory that can accommodate up to two people, will allow astronauts to travel farther across the lunar surface and serve as a habitat for extended stays.

In January, Japan became the fifth country in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Smart Lander for Investigating Moon is designed to study the composition of rocks on the lunar surface and investigate the natural satellite’s origins.

“Under the partnership stronger than ever, we will drive the initiative together with JAXA, including the development of the pressurized rover that vastly extends the exploration capability on the lunar surface, to realize the shared goal for Japanese and American astronauts to, together, explore the moon,” said Moriyama. 

The agreement is part of the Framework Agreement Between the Government of Japan and the Government of the United States of America for Cooperation in Space Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, For Peaceful Purposes, which the two nations signed in 2023. 

NASA plans to use JAXA’s rover on Artemis VII and subsequent missions.

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