NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said a reconstituted lunar program was just the first step towards deep space exploration, including a mission to Mars. During a two-day trip to Ottawa, the NASA chief made an interested call to continue the US decades-long partnership with Canada. He also said that NASA would like to see Canadian astronauts on the Moon.
NASA is embarking on the creation of its new Lunar Gateway, a space station that it plans to send into orbit around the Moon from 2021. The US space agency wants to create a “sustainable lunar architecture” that would allow frequent movement of people and equipment, Bridenstine said.
NASA Wants Canadian Astronauts On The Moon
“If Canadians want to participate in missions on the Moon with astronauts, we welcome that. We want this day to come true,” he told a small group of journalists in Ottawa before his speech to the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC). “We think it would be great for the world to see people on the surface of the Moon who not only carry the American flag but those of other countries,” he added.
The United States is seeking broad international support for its new lunar program, Bridenstine told at the conference. He added that NASA wanted to benefit from Canada’s expertise in artificial intelligence and robotics, which could include a next-generation Canadian arm on the space station and other technologies, as well.
Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who has already praised the artificial intelligence hubs in Ontario and Quebec, said that Canada is committed to maintaining its partnership with NASA, without giving further details. “At that time, we wouldn’t want to exclude anything,” Bains told reporters who urged him to ask questions about the possibility of providing astronauts to missions on the Moon. “We have made it very clear that we want to work with NASA. We also want to work with other allies,” Navdeep Bains added.
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