On May 17, 2020 NASA unveiled The Artemis Accords. The Artemis Accords are a set of principles and processes where The United States and other countries agree to a common set of principles that refer to how the moon is to be explored.

According to NASA, the raison d’etre of this Accord is to “establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space”. Bilateral Artemis Accords agreements, based on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty are aimed at “creating a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for the benefit of humanity”.

The Artemis Principles include: Peaceful purposes-all activities on the moon and outer space will be conducted for peaceful purposes based on the Outer Space Treaty. Transparency- Artemis partner nations will be required to be transparent when describing their space policies and plans. Interoperability- partner nations should strive to support interoperability (the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of inforamation) as much as possible.  Emergency Assistance- NASA and partner nations commit to providing assistance to those in need on the moon and in outer space[1]. Registration of Space objects[2]- the Accord stresses the importance of registering objects that go into outer space and the moon. Release of Scientific Data- partners will agree to release their scientific data to ensure global benefit.  Protecting Heritage-parties commit to the protection of sites and artifacts of historic value found in outer space and on the moon. Space Resources- resource extraction will be conducted under the umbrella of the Outer Space Treaty. (Specifically Articles II, VI and XI) Deconfliction of Activities- partner nations will provide public information regarding the location(s) of their operations “which will inform and scale and scope of Safety Zones”. Finally, Orbital Debris and Spacecraft Disposal- partner nations will comply with the principles of the Space Debris Guidelines of the United Nations[3].

These Artemis Accords are significant because they reflect the initial purpose of outer space exploration. The current U.S. Administration seems to want to privatize space and has a “winner takes all” mentality. The Accords shifts that focal point back to the original intent of space exploration which is “the common interest of all mankind in the progress of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes”.[4]


[1] Please refer to the Rescue Agreement and my initial post

[2] Please refer to my initial post in January

[3] Please refer to my post in April

[4] Please refer to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967

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