International cooperation on and around the Moon as part of the Artemis program has taken a huge step forward with the signing of the Artemis Accords between NASA and several partner countries. The Artemis Accords have been designed to establish a practical set of principles to guide space exploration cooperation among nations participating in the agency’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.
While NASA is leading the Artemis program, which includes sending the first woman and next man to the surface of the Moon in 2024, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the Moon later this decade while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars.
“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “With today’s signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy.”
The founding member nations that have signed the Artemis Accords include Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the UAE, UK, and the United States of America.
“Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions. Transparency, public registration, deconflicting 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.”
According to NASA, the principles of the Artemis Accords are:
– Peaceful Exploration: All activities conducted under the Artemis program must be for peaceful purposes
-Transparency: Artemis Accords signatories will conduct their activities in a transparent fashion to avoid confusion and conflicts
Interoperability: Nations participating in the Artemis program will strive to support interoperable systems to enhance safety and sustainability
-Emergency Assistance: Artemis Accords signatories commit to rendering assistance to personnel in distress
-Registration of Space Objects: Any nation participating in Artemis must be a signatory to the Registration Convention or become a signatory with alacrity
-Release of Scientific Data: Artemis Accords signatories commit to the public release of scientific information, allowing the whole world to join us on the Artemis journey
-Preserving Heritage: Artemis Accords signatories commit to preserving outer space heritage
-Space Resources: Extracting and utilizing space resources is key to safe and sustainable exploration and the Artemis Accords signatories affirm that such activities should be conducted in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty
-Deconfliction of Activities: The Artemis Accords nations commit to preventing harmful interference and supporting the principle of due regard, as required by the Outer Space Treaty
-Orbital Debris: Artemis Accords countries commit to planning for the safe disposal of debris.
Additional countries will join the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as NASA continues to work with its international partners to establish a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space.