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8 Countries sign NASA’s Artemis Accords to set rules for Moon Exploration

IMAGE CREDITS: GEEKWIRE

According to The Verge, eight countries have agreed to NASA’s Artemis Accords, whose intention is to create a diverse coalition of nations committed to the standardization of lunar exploration. These nations include the US, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. 

NASA announced that it would be creating the Artemis Accords in May of 2020 after they had worked with the National Space Council and the US State Department to come up with a draft for the set of rules. NASA then released the draft to other countries with space programs, asked for their input, and then came up with a final draft. According to NASA, more nations could join before the end of the year. “This first announcement is very much a beginning, not an ending to the nations joining the Accords,” said Mike Gold, the acting associate administrator for the office of international and interagency relations at NASA.

There are ten major principles of the Artemis Accords: The first is that everyone must have peaceful purposes, as to not conflict with the Outer Space Treaty, which was formed in 1967 to make sure the exploration of space was a peaceful exercise. It also stated that nations should not lay claim to other worlds, but was left vague for later interpretation. 

The second rule is transparency, meaning all nations must agree to publicly describe their policies and plans.

 Rule number three is interoperability, to make sure all partner nations develop international standards so that all nations have compatible equipment. 

The fourth rule is that all nations must provide emergency assistance when needed, such as through reaffirming commitments to the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts, and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space. 

The fifth rule is to make sure all objects launched into space are registered as to abide by the Registration Convention. 

The sixth rule is to ensure that all scientific data will be shared in a timely manner. 

The seventh rule protects historic sites and artifacts, like the Apollo mission landing sites. 

The eighth rule is the ability to extract and utilize resources on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids. This would not be interfering with the Outer Space Treaty because they would not be laying claim to the objects themselves, but only the resources. This is a critical rule to support safe and sustainable space exploration and development. 

Rule number nine enables nations the ability to set up ‘safety zones’, or places where other nations can not interfere with their operations. 

The final rule is to ensure orbital debris and spacecraft are disposed of in a safe, timely, and efficient manner. 

ARTICLE: JOSEPH MODICA

SCIENCE/HEALTH EDITOR: KYLE SMITH

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