Why it matters: We’re used to seeing nations here on earth, but NASA hopes that in future activities on the moon and in space we will learn to work together peacefully. To this end, several partner countries of the space agency have signed the Artemis Agreement, which sets out a number of principles for space exploration and lunar plans.
Nasa hasn’t been on the moon since Commander Eugene Cernan was the last to walk on it in 1972, but there are plans to bring the next man and woman to the surface in 2024 through Project Artemis. The aim is to build sustainable elements on and around the moon for long-term discovery and exploration, including a lunar space station known as the Gateway.
The project is a big undertaking and has resulted in the creation of the Artemis Agreements to avoid conflict. They build on a space treaty from 1967 in which the signatories pledge not to place any weapons on the moon or other celestial bodies.
The eight founding nations that signed the Artemis Accords are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. You have agreed to the following ten principles:
- Peaceful exploration: All activities under the Artemis program must serve peaceful purposes
- transparency: The Artemis Accords signatories will conduct their activities in a transparent manner to avoid confusion and conflict
- Interoperability: The nations participating in the Artemis program will endeavor to support interoperable systems to improve safety and sustainability
- Emergency assistance: The signatories of Artemis Accords undertake to support personnel in need
- Registration of space objects: Every nation participating in Artemis must be a signatory to the Convention on Registration or become a signatory quickly
- Publication of scientific data: The signatories of the Artemis Accords undertake to publish scientific information so that the whole world can accompany us on the Artemis journey
- Preserve the legacy: The Artemis Accords signatories pledge to uphold the legacy of outer space
- Space resources: The extraction and use of space resources is the key to safe and sustainable exploration. The signatories to the Artemis Agreement affirm that such activities should be conducted in accordance with the Space Treaty
- Deconflict of activities: The nations of the Artemis Convention undertake to prevent harmful interference and to support the principle of due consideration as prescribed in the space treaty
- Orbitalreste: The countries of Artemis Accords undertake to plan the safe disposal of waste
While NASA says more countries will put their names in the Artemis Accords, Russia and China are two notable absenteeism – both signed the space treaty. Russia, which is working with the US on the ISS, said it had little interest in playing an important role.
“Our American partners are actively promoting [Artemis]. In our view, Lunar Gateway in its current form is too US-centered. Russia is unlikely to participate on a large scale, “said Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos.” With this in mind, we are interested in ensuring that the docking module design allows this [Russia’s future Orel crew] Spaceship to dock with the Lunar Gateway. ”
China is not so open to cooperation. She believes the Artemis Accords are another example of the US trying to colonize space and claim sovereignty over the moon.
Image credit: 3Dsculptor
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