What are NASA Artemis Accords and why are they significant?
Artemis Accords involve a set of principles that will govern space exploration and were first launched in 2020. According to NASA, they "will describe a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities" for all. Here we tell you why Artemis Accords are important.
Artemis Accords cover Moon, Mars, asteroids, and key orbital points
Artemis Accords reinforce and implement the 1967's Outer Space Treaty (Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies). The accords cover activities on the surface, in orbit, and in the subsurface of Moon, Mars, comets, and asteroids. They also involve orbital points, called Lagrangian points, for the Earth-Moon system.
International partnerships are important for the success of Artemis program
NASA, via the Artemis program, intends to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon, marking a new era of space exploration. While NASA is leading the program, international partnerships will play a major role in its success.
What do the Artemis Accords say?
The Artemis Accords involve 10 key principles which are briefly elucidated. The accords include peaceful exploration, transparency to avoid confusion and conflict, interoperability to enhance safety and sustainability, emergency assistance to astronauts or personnel in space who are in distress, registration of space objects, the release of scientific data for the public, and preserving the heritage of outer space.
The accords also discuss the disposal of orbital debris
The accords also involve space resources—their utilization and extraction—for safe and sustainable exploration and involve orbital debris and its disposal. They also entail the deconfliction of activities wherein nations have to be committed to preventing harmful interference and support the principle of due regard.
Which nations have signed up for the Artemis Accords?
The founding members of the Artemis Accords are Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, UAE, the UK, and the USA. At the US-Africa Space Forum in December 2022, Nigeria and Rwanda became the first African countries to sign the accords. As of January 2023, the list also includes Bahrain, Brazil, Columbia, France, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Ukraine.
"Destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future"
"Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions," said Mike Gold, former associate administrator at NASA. "Transparency, public registration, de-conflicting operations - these are the principles that will preserve peace. The Artemis journey is to the Moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future."