The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has had its exploration budget more than quadrupled for the coming year. Strong on recent successes such as the return of samples collected from Asteroid Ryugu, JAXA's fund for exploration will go from 120 million to 500 million US dollars.
The extraordinary success of Haybausa2 – the mission that collected and brought back the sample of Ryugu on December 6 – is probably among the highlights of the year for JAXA. Confirmation of the abundance of the sample collected is a fantastic boon for our understanding of the early solar system. The spacecraft is now continuing on a long-term journey to study more asteroids in the inner solar system.
Back in October, Japan signed up to the Artemis Accords, the agreement between Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, the U.K., and the United States for the return to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis Program.
JAXA is expected to play an important role in the program, potentially with a presence in one of the crewed missions, although currently only the American contingent of the Artemis Team has been announced.
NASA’s administrator Jim Bridenstine took to Twitter to congratulate this increase in budget and remark on the continuous collaboration between the two space agencies.