NASA lays out 'Artemis Accords' for responsible moon exploration

Katie Ramirez
May 18, 2020

NASA is planning to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024 via its Artemis program.

NASA's "Artemis Accords" have ironed out the details in some old rules and established new ones for greater worldwide cooperation in outer space.

The agency noted that the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which prohibits nations from laying claim to the moon and other celestial bodies, is still valid, but the new Artemis Accords builds on the legal framework to help boost inter-country cooperation in space.

The Outer Space Treaty, which lays out the principles of worldwide space law, specifically states that outer space including the moon cannot be claimed as part of a nation, and that activities in outer space should be made public as much as possible so that the global scientific community and the public can learn from them.

Countries must also agree to protect heritage sites and space artifacts, gather resources according to worldwide agreements, avoid harmful interference with other missions and dispose of any debris or spacecraft responsibly.

"I hope that when our colleagues in Russian Federation see what we're trying to achieve, they will support what we're trying to accomplish - to achieve norms of behavior for a peaceful and prosperous future", Gold said on Friday.

In response, Russia's space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin criticized Washington for excluding Russian Federation from early negotiations over the space exploration pact, drawing parallels with US foreign policy in the Middle East.

"In many respects, Russian Federation already has joined the Accords as it is a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty".

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He and NASA's deputy administrator, Jim Morhard, spoke with Ars in advance of Friday morning's announcement.

All the scientific data should be released, and they should protect sites and artifacts with historical value, such as the Apollo program landing sites - these ones don't have real lawful protection.

Dimitru Rogozin, head of Russia's space corporation, reacted on Twitter by comparing the "invasion" to that of Americans infiltrating Afghanistan or Iraq.

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.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is leading implementation of the Artemis Accords.

Space has no law.

One of the key prospects of the Artemis Accords is that lunar exploration is a peaceful enterprise and isn't supposed to be a site for weapon storage of mass destruction.

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