Eight-nation space coalition banded together under 'Artemis Accords' by NASA

Eight nations have signed on to become founding members of NASA's Artemis Accords, an international agreement that establishes how countries can cooperate to peacefully and responsibly conduct exploration of the moon.

NASA announced Tuesday that the United States signed the accords, together with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the agreement would establish a “singular global coalition” to guide future expeditions to the moon.

“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,” Bridenstine said in a statement released Tuesday.

NASA developed the Artemis Accords to partner with other nations to set basic principles to guide robotic and crewed lunar exploration. The agreement’s name refers to NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts, including the first woman, to the moon by 2024.

This illustration made available by NASA in April 2020 depicts Artemis astronauts on the Moon. On Thursday, April 30, 2020, NASA announced the three companies that will develop, build and fly lunar landers, with the goal of returning astronauts to the moon by 2024. The companies are SpaceX, led by Elon Musk; Blue Origin, founded by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos; and Dynetics, a Huntsville, Ala., subsidiary of Leidos. (NASA via AP)

The accords include provisions for peaceful exploration, safety, transparency, sustainable use of space resources, cooperation to build and operate spacecraft and other hardware, and the management and disposal of orbital debris.

“Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions,” Mike Gold, NASA’s acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations, said in a statement. “The Artemis journey is to the moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future.”

The Artemis Accords build on another major international agreement known as the Outer Space Treaty, which was enacted in 1967. The Outer Space Treaty bans the use of nuclear weapons or any other weapons of mass destruction in space and establishes that exploration of space, the moon and other celestial bodies should only be for peaceful purposes.



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