NASA has unveiled a series of principles to govern the behavior of countries participating in the 2024 moon mission.
Called Artemis Accords, the space agency will require partners to sign the doctrine that focuses on creating a ‘safe and prosperous future’ between nations in a new era for space exploration.
The agreement includes 10 basic norms such as work transparency, properly disposing debris and providing assistance to astronauts in danger during a mission.
NASA also notes that the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is still in effect, but the new Artemis Accords builds on the legal framework to help bolster a peaceful relationship on the moon and beyond.
NASA has unveiled a series of principles to govern the behavior of countries participating in the 2024 moon mission
‘While NASA is leading the Artemis program, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars,’ NASA shared in the announcement.
‘With numerous countries and private sector players conducting missions and operations in cislunar space, it’s critical to establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space.’
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 includes 17 principles that were created to ensure fairness and peaceful relationships at a time when humans were first exploring the final frontier.
It ‘bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space.’
Called Artemis Accords, the space agency will require partners to sign the doctrine that focuses on creating a ‘safe and prosperous future’ between nations in a new era for space exploration as NASA gears up to travel to the moon (artist impression)
Approximately 105 countries are included in the treaty and 26 others have signed it but have yet to complete ratification.
- Peaceful Purposes
- Emergency Assistance
- Registration of Space Objects
- Release of Scientific Data
- Protecting Heritage
- Space Resources
- Deconfliction of Activities
- Orbital Debris and Spacecraft Disposal
NASA said that the new Artemis Accords will not replace the treaty, but will expand it with more detailed principles for nations set to play a role in the 2024 mission to the moon.
The new agreement will require all nations involved to be transparent, assist astronauts in trouble, register space objects and release scientific data.
Countries must also agree to protect heritage sites and space artifacts, gather resources according to international agreements, avoid harmful interference with other missions and dispose of any debris or spacecraft responsibly.
Mike Gold, a NASA associate administrator who has led development of the Artemis Accords, said: ‘We don’t want to only carry astronauts to the Moon, we want to carry our values forward.’
‘We want to use the excitement around Artemis to incentivize partners to adopt these principles that we believe will lead to a more peaceful, transparent, safe and secure future in space—not only for NASA and the international partners we’re working with, but the entire world.’
Parts of the Artemis Accords leaked earlier this month, but because many of the details were missing, some nations perceived it as the US attempting to regulate exploration to the moon.
Dimitru Rogozin, head of Russia’s space corporation, reacted on Twitter by comparing the ‘invasion’ to that of Americans infiltrating Afghanistan or Iraq.
Gold and NASA’s deputy administrator, Jim Morhard acknowledged Rogozin’s concerns and explained the framework would be conducted as a negotiation with other nations rather than instituted laws.
The agreement includes 10 basic norms such as work transparency, properly disposing debris and providing assistance to astronauts in danger during a mission
NASA also notes that the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is still in effect, but the new Artemis Accords builds on the legal framework to help bolster a peaceful relationship on the moon and beyond
Morhard said, ‘We certainly hope that Russia will be part of this. It’s not like we don’t want them.’
China is on the list of nations invited to sign the Artemis Accords, but NASA officials said the country and all others that join must also adhere to human rights on Earth.
Although China will be invited to join the Artemis Accords, NASA officials said it or any other country would have to respect the safety of people on Earth.
‘The empty core stage of the Long March 5B, weighing nearly 20 tons, was in an uncontrolled free fall along a path that carried it over Los Angeles and other densely populated areas,’ NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told Ars Technica.
‘I can think of no better example of why we need the Artemis Accords. It’s vital for the US to lead and establish norms of behavior against such irresponsible activities. Space exploration should inspire hope and wonder, not fear and danger.’
NASA will land the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis mission
Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology.
NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 – including the first woman and the next man.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars.
Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA’s deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.
During this flight, the spacecraft will launch on the most powerful rocket in the world and fly farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.
It will travel 280,000 miles (450,600 km) from Earth, thousands of miles beyond the Moon over the course of about a three-week mission.
Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. This graphic explains the various stages of the mission
Orion will stay in space longer than any ship for astronauts has done without docking to a space station and return home faster and hotter than ever before.
With this first exploration mission, NASA is leading the next steps of human exploration into deep space where astronauts will build and begin testing the systems near the Moon needed for lunar surface missions and exploration to other destinations farther from Earth, including Mars.
The will take crew on a different trajectory and test Orion’s critical systems with humans aboard.
The SLS rocket will from an initial configuration capable of sending more than 26 metric tons to the Moon, to a final configuration that can send at least 45 metric tons.
Together, Orion, SLS and the ground systems at Kennedy will be able to meet the most challenging crew and cargo mission needs in deep space.
Eventually NASA seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 as a result of the Artemis mission.
The space agency hopes this colony will uncover new scientific discoveries, demonstrate new technological advancements and lay the foundation for private companies to build a lunar economy.