Breaking the ice, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that “Canada is going to the moon”, as they signed up with NASA to put an orbiter around earth’s only satellite by 2024.

Back in November, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine had invited Canada to join hands with NASA for becoming a partner in the next lunar mission because, they “can’t achieve what we want to achieve in space if any of us goes alone”. After three months, Canada has decided to commit to the space mission and take a step ahead in space exploration of the future. Officially announcing about the plan, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that “Canada is going to the moon”, very soon.

The plan is that Canada will join NASA’s ambitions “Lunar Gateway” – a mission to build a way-station just like the International Space Station (ISS) for trips to and from the lunar surface in future. As Trudeau announced on Thursday, they will be spending over $150 million Canadian dollars in over five years to put an orbiter around the moon in few years. This makes Canada to be the first international partnering country that has signed up for the Lunar Gateway mission.

The orbiter that will be sent is an autonomous robotic system – Canadarm3, a device used to repair and maintain the station. Trudeau also said that the moon mission in 2024 is just the first step of Canadian space research, and they plan to splurge over $2 billion Canadian dollars in its space program over the next 24 years. Perhaps, Canada will join NASA for Mars next time – maybe after 24 years or more.