The Artemis project, an international effort led by the United States aimed at advancing lunar exploration and eventually returning humans to the moon by 2025, cannot succeed without Japan's help, NASA's attache in Asia said Friday.

"To succeed, we need not only JAXA, but also the cooperation of private companies," said Garvey McIntosh, referring to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. "You don't need to be a big company. As long as you have good ideas and passion, you can (contribute)."

As part of the Artemis program, the United States is aiming to return humans to the moon for the first time since NASA's Apollo 17 mission in 1972.