South Korea becomes tenth country to sign the Artemis Accords
On May 24, South Korea became the tenth nation to sign the Artemis Accords, a set of principles that define responsible exploration of the Moon. NASA said it was thrilled to see South Korea committed to the Artemis Accords. In March, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in declared that the country aims to send its lander to the Moon by 2030.
In a ceremony in Seoul, the Republic of Korea Minister of Science and ICT Lim Hyesook signed the Artemis Accords. The nation joined Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Ukraine, the UK, and the UAE who had signed the Accords proposed by the United States during Donald Trump's presidential term. South Korea is the first country to sign with President Joe Biden in the office.
In a statement, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said he was thrilled that the Republic of Korea had committed to the Artemis Accords. He added that "Their signature demonstrates the strong momentum worldwide in supporting our (NASA's) Moon-to-Mars exploration approach." The Accords borrow their name from NASA's Artemis program that intends to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2030.
The Republic of Korea's minister who signed the Accord, Lim Hyesook said, "With signing the Artemis Accords, Korea would be able to strengthen cooperation with nations participating in the Accords in exploring outer space." Minister Hyesook also said that for successful space exploration, it is critical to implement space development activities transparently and responsibly by collaborating with the international community.
NASA said that it aims to land two astronauts near the lunar south pole in 2024, under the Artemis mission. The space agency had recently unveiled plans for a lunar rover that would precede the manned mission and scout the Moon's dark side for deposits of ice. NASA said that more countries will join the Artemis Accords in the years to come.