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8 nations sign NASA-led Artemis Accords for 'safe and transparent' moon program

NASA said the Artemis Accords share a vision for space exploration principles, affirmed in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — NASA continues to take small steps and giant leaps in its quest to return humans to the moon, and on Tuesday it announced a formal set of principles for international and commercial cooperation going forward.

Eight nations have signed the Artemis Accords, a declaration and set of guiding principles for future lunar exploration plans.

The shared vision in the Artemis Accords was grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which declared space exploration's purposes to be peaceful, scientific and beneficial to all peoples of the Earth. The treaty also sought broad international cooperation for future space exploration.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine called the Artemis Accords the vehicle to establish a "singular global coalition" and that the next moon program "will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history."

“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," he said.

The United States is leading the Artemis program with NASA, with the goal of sending the first woman and the next man to the moon in 2024. 

The agency said international partnerships will play a key role in creating a sustainable, permanent presence on the moon later in the decade while also setting sights on a crewed mission to Mars.

The founding member nations of the Artemis Accords are:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America

Notably, the Artemis Accords outline a shared understanding among the nations of a "common spirit and the ambition that the next step's of humanity's journey in space inspire current and future generations to explore the Moon, Mars, and beyond..."

The accords also aim to build upon the legacy of NASA's Apollo program in the 1960s and 1970s by bringing together international and commercial partners to create sustainable space exploration plans.

Key principles of the Artemis Accords include:

  • Peaceful exploration
  • Transparency
  • Interoperability
  • Emergency assistance
  • Registration of space objects
  • Release of scientific data
  • Preserving heritage
  • Space resources
  • Deconfliction of activities
  • Orbital debris

Each principle is outlined in the accords' 18 pages, which you can read here.

NASA said additional nations will join the Artemis Accords in the near future. 

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