NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Hopes Canada Will Sustain NASA In A Future Moon Mission

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NASA, which concluded a two-day trip to Ottawa on Wednesday, left the federal capital empty-handed. The US space agency has, however, made a strong plea in favor of Canada’s participation in a future Moon mission. At a time when pressure is increasing, the Trudeau government is slow to make a commitment.

The presence this week in Ottawa of NASA’s number one is no coincidence. If Jim Bridenstine’s tone and words are polite, Washington’s impatience is real. Appointed by Donald Trump as head of the agency, Mr. Bridenstine is also its senior space science advisor. For Donald Trump, the Lunar Gateway project is a priority. Last year, the President of the United States ordered NASA to launch a human-crewed mission to the Moon.

“I am here to ask for Canada’s support,” Jim Bridenstine repeated several times during his recent trip to Ottawa. “Canada has been an essential ally of the United States in space exploration. And we want to ensure that this partnership remains strong,” he added.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Hopes Canada Will Sustain NASA In A Future Moon Mission

The NASA leader is apparently on a reconnaissance mission, and the context of this visit is vital for future US-Canada alliance in space exploration missions.

Last summer, Canada turned its back on NASA. Due to a lack of funding, the Canadian Space Agency has abandoned its participation in a critical project, the WFIRST telescope. The Canadian Space Agency has the goal to provide an instrument that would have played an essential role in this mission.

Since then, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, has still not offered a firm commitment to NASA for the Lunar Gateway project.

“There are many options. At this stage, everything remains on the table,” the minister said after his meeting with the head of the US space agency, Jim Bridenstine.