On September 22, 2017 (JST), NASA and JAXA held a joint press conference at JAXA Tokyo office to confirm plans to cooperate on three space science missions.
Thomas Zurbuchen, the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate of NASA and Saku Tsuneta, the Director General of ISAS/JAXA expressed their strong determination to further strengthen such cooperation between the agencies. NASA and ISAS/JAXA have already promoted collaborative research activities in many areas including space science and unmanned explorations.
The joint release on NASA - JAXA Cooperation in Space Science includes;
- Plans to cooperate on three space science missions; MMX, X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission, and a follow-on mission for the Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter (CLASP) experiment
- Plans for continuous cooperation on the Venus Climate Orbiter (Akatsuki) and Hisaki (SPRINT-A) and to work closely for analyzing the scientific data obtained from these spacecraft
- Affirming the importance of continuing the close dialogue at all levels that have been the hallmark of NASA-JAXA collaboration
Thomas Zurbuchen said, "The U.S. and Japan have kept close ties for nearly 60 years. This relationship is one of the most extended and most fruitful partnerships. I visited JAXA's facilities in Sagamihara and Tsukuba and communicated with world-class scientists and engineers. Although this was a short stay, for only a week, I was involved in productive meetings and discussions. I would like to express gratitude for the depth and strength of our relationship and anticipate future outcomes."
Saku Tsuneta stated, "Based on this inter-agency meeting, I have a strong impression that U.S.- Japan cooperation has entered a new era of development. Our close cooperation based on mutual trust between the U.S. and Japan enabled us to minimize the blank period in X-ray astronomy using X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission. In addition, we have started a new joint project on exploration around the Mars."
In the question and answer session, Zurbuchen mentioned MMX, "We may be working on the first Mars sample return mission." To this statement, Tsuneta added, "Phobos may be covered by Mars substances. It can be said that it will be the first sample-return mission to get Mars substance. "
The video of this press conference is available on JAXA TV at the following URL: http://fanfun.jaxa.jp/jaxatv/detail/10697.html