NASA recently unveiled the Artemis Accords, a set of rules that guide its upcoming manned lunar mission and build on it to destinations such as Mars. These guidelines and commitments cover topics such as transparency, the release of scientific data, and the avoidance of the use of mission waste to pollute space. However, these promises are unlikely to reassure those who doubt that the Artemis mission is robbing the moon of its resources.
If all goes according to plan, NASA will have a manned mission to the moon by 2024. Two NASA astronauts will be seen on the moon’s surface for the first time in decades. It will also launch a more ambitious plan to build facilities on and around the moon, which will provide supplies for the Altmes Mars mission in the next decade.
“With a large number of national and private sector participants carrying out missions and actions in space between Earth and moon orbits, it is essential to establish a common set of principles for the management of civilian exploration and use of outer space. NASA said. “The International Space Agency, which is part of NASA’s Artemis Program, will achieve this through the implementation of the bilateral Artemis Agreement, which will describe a vision of common principles based on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, in order to create a safe and transparent environment that promotes exploration, science and commercial activities for the benefit of humanity. “
NASA lists ten key principles. First, all mission activities “will be for peace” and policies and plans will be transparent. The Artemis Agreement also calls for open international standards for things like spacecraft;
The registration of space objects is based on the Registration Convention, which allows for the coordination of space acts. The agreement also includes a commitment to “protect sites and cultural relics of historical value”, such as the site of the first moon landing. Partners in the Artemis Agreement will also be expected to publicly release their scientific data and work together to develop plans to slow orbital debris such as decommissioned spacecraft.
However, two of these agreements could be controversial. The first is about space resources, as well as “the ability to exploit and utilize resources on the moon, Mars and asteroids.” NASA says this is critical for future missions, and while some have called for the prevention of the plundering of space resources, the agency says it plans to do so.
“The Artemis Agreement strengthens the exploitation and use of space resources, and will be carried out under the auspices of the Outer Space Treaty, with special emphasis on articles II, VI and XI,” NASA outlined. The Treaty, which was enacted in 1966 and entered into force the following year, focuses on non-arms factors, such as the non-placement of weapons of mass destruction in space, rather than newer concepts, such as mining operations outside the Earth.
The content of the Artemis Agreement, which revolves around “conflicts of elimination activities”, may also be divisive. NASA said in the agreement that it and other countries “will provide public information on the location and general nature of the operation, which will inform the size and scope of the ‘safe zone’.”
NASA explained that “the notification and coordination among allies respects these safe areas and will prevent harmful interference.” Implementation of Article 9 of the Outer Space Treaty and strengthening the principle of due consideration. “
In April, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to Encourage International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources, which outlines U.S. intentions to exploit the moon and beyond and refutes claims that space is a “global commons.” This contradicts the 1979 Moon Agreement, which was a recommendation of the United Nations that celestial bodies such as the Moon should be “exclusively for peaceful purposes” and that “their environment should not be destroyed”.
The United States did not sign the agreement, and in fact, the Trump administration stated that “it is the policy of the United States to encourage the international community to support public and private restoration and use of outer space resources, subject to applicable law.” “