The Artemis Accords, an international agreement, which calls for sustainable and regulated exploration of the lunar surface has been signed by eight nations, NASA announced. Next to the moon, the civil exploration and use of Mars, Comets and Astroids fall under the scope of the Accords.
“When we think about the Artemis Accords, what we’re trying to do is establish norms of behavior that every nation can agree to,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said. The cosigners apart from the US are Australia, Canada, Japan, Italy, the UK, and the United Arab Emirates. Notable absentees are China, India, Israel, and Russia. Four nations that have either send rovers to the moon or are seriously planning on multi-mission in the upcoming years.
Russia´s Rogozin, head of the Russian Space Program, has stated his objections and criticism to NASA´s Artemis project on multiple occasions. ¨The law would have to change for NASA to approach China, says Bridenstine, referring to a law enacted by the American Congress that prohibits co-operation in space with China due to national security reasons. “If China’s behavior were to be modified in a way that Congress — Republicans and Democrats — come together and say, ‘Look, we want to engage China,’ NASA stands ready,” said Bridenstine. “But at this point, it’s just not in the cards and we at NASA will always follow the law.
The Artemis Accords regulate the extraction of resources from the Moon and Mars under the conditions of the Outer Space Treaty. ¨The Signatories emphasize that the extraction and utilization of space resources, including any recovery from the surface or subsurface of the Moon, Mars, comets, or asteroids, should be executed in a manner that complies with the Outer Space Treaty and in support of safe and sustainable space activities.¨
“Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions. Transparency, public registration, de-conflicting operations — these are the principles that will preserve peace,” said Mike Gold, NASA acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations. “The Artemis journey is to the Moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future.”
It is expected that more nations will be signing the Artemis Accords in the near future, like allied European nations. Just like the ISS steadily attracted more partners it is expected the Artemis program, and the upcoming moonbase will have the same international cooperation amongst states.
“The Artemis program represents a new era where robots and humans will work together to push the boundaries of what’s possible in space exploration,” Bridenstine wrote in a NASA blog post.”Inspiring future generations to help us confront the challenges of human space exploration is vital to the success of Artemis and all of NASA’s future.”