(Ottawa) Four astronauts selected to orbit the Moon say the Artemis II mission can help shed light on how Canada is responding to food insecurity, health care needs and climate adaptation in the Arctic.

As crew members prepare to cross a new frontier in space, the NASA chief expects Ottawa to increase spending on the Canadian Space Agency, in step with its allies.

Ontarian Jeremy Hansen, a colonel and CF-18 pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force who will join three Americans in space, says the mission shows what is possible through collaboration. This mindset, he says, should guide humanity in its response to climate change.

The mission scheduled for November 2024 is part of an ambitious plan to establish a long-term presence on the Moon.

The crew will orbit the Earth, and propel themselves hundreds of thousands of miles away for a figure-8 maneuver around the Moon, before their momentum carries them home.

If successful, the flight will mark the first time a human has ventured this far from Earth and set the stage for another mission scheduled for 2025. This will include driving a vehicle on the surface of the Earth. Moon and the search for materials that could be converted into fuel and building materials.

The astronauts also said in an interview with The Canadian Press that they want to show the world the importance of diversity, with a mission whose crew includes two nationalities, a woman and a black man.