Eight Countries Sign Artemis Accords


In partnership with seven other nations, the United States signed an agreement on Tuesday designed to establish the principles that will guide cooperation among international participants in NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration program. Rooted in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, the principles laid out in the Artemis Accords include a commitment to peaceful exploration, transparency and interoperability among signatories, an agreement to render emergency assistance, preservation of space heritage and public release of scientific information. The Accords also outline benefits and responsibilities associated with extracting resources in space.

“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “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.”

NASA’s Artemis program is aiming to land “the first woman and next man” on the Moon in 2024 with an eye toward a crewed mission to Mars. In addition to the U.S., the countries that signed the Artemis Accords (PDF) were Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The Accords will remain open for future signatories.

Video: NASA
Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Why? It’s insanely expensive and nothing is there. Just go to Mars if the plan is to go to Mars; THAT IS WHAT THE SPACE STATION was supposed to figure out.

    • NASA’s Mars goals are nothing but marketing and aspiration. There’s no plan or funding to go to Mars, so they are stretching the budget as far as they can – an Apollo re-run including a mini space station.

      • You’re spot on by pointing out the lack of funding, and this really goes to the core of most of the frustrations people have with NASA. NASA has many admirable goals, now and over the last 30 years. The main problem they’ve had though is that the Executive branch has assigned many lofty goals through the years, but Congress hasn’t provided enough funding to make these programs viable. Plenty of money for studies and development which do create needed jobs, but never enough to make the programs workable from a flight perspective. That was Constellation’s problem, and they’ve poured much more funding into the current SLS program, but it still only has enough funding for ONE launch per year.

        • Funding is a big obstacle, yes, but government micro-managing too far is also a serious limit. The SLS design is defined by law, to keep the old Shuttle contractors in business. It is not designed to be the best rocket for it’s mission. The result is extremely expensive for what it does, which is a leading cause of it’s very low regard by many, especially in light of what private companies are now doing (whether you like Bezos and Musk or not).

  2. And why in the universe go to Mars. Freezing cold, bone dry and with cancernogenic dust everywhere. It is difficult enough (and expensive enough) maintaining stations in Antartica…

  3. Arthur, I don’t believe “nothing there” is an accurate description of the moon. The moon has water reserves in abundance as ice trapped in the solar exclusion zones near the poles. (Ice in the permanent shade at the bottom of deep craters.) The moon also has “rare” metals like titanium in greater abundance than found on earth. The moon has caves that could be easily made into livable spaces by plugging the entrance and pressurizing the space inside. Moon dust makes excellent concrete.

    If you’re going to explore the solar system, the moon, with it’s lower gravity, makes a better jumping off point than the earth.

    • Is the Moon dust pure calcium carbonate? Even if it was, concrete would be very low on your shopping list. If you want to attract people to the Moon – first, you need to send a WaWa gas station!

      I’ve seen a Moon rock (which looked like river gravel) and what did it cost to go and get it? If there were any precious minerals there, why didn’t they bring back a sample? NASA is a money pit with few realities.

      • A ton of concrete certainly isn’t worth the cost of mounting a mining mission to the moon. But a ton of titanium? Now you’re talking some serious returns on investment.

    • Correction: Nothing is there that we don’t have on Earth. We stopped going to the moon because it’s insanely expensive. “IF” the mission is to go to Mars then it’s more efficient not to stop at the moon just as you are getting started on the way.

    • Easily solved by avoiding zero-G. Not a hard problem to solve, really, just not one that has received much attention yet – there has been no real need.

  4. If we wanted to do it right, we’d construct a space station at L4/L5 to stage and support lunar operations. Then establish a scientific/construction base in an SXZ with the goal of minimal Earth support. Think, “The Martian” with regular FedEx; deliveries from the station would basically fall out of the sky. Returning materials from the base would take more effort, but hydrogen extracted from the SXZ water would make them possible, if less frequent. Needless to say, shipping a 90Kg “ugly bag of mostly salt water” would take a lot more planning.

    All of which makes a lot more sense than trying to go to Mars given our current knowledge and technology.

  5. Not to to hijack this thread about going to Mars, but…
    Notably absent nations from the Artemis Agreement. Nothing preventing Russia or China from signing the agreement, I wonder what their motives are for not signing? Don’t want to be transparent or share findings/research?
    As if the US is going to be transparent if it somehow finds something important.

  6. What makes anybody really think that humans will get along in space? If we cannot get along here on the third rock from the Sun, I am not holding my breath for a peaceful coexistence in space.

    Besides, between Luxembourg and the US, who do think is going to be shelling out the largest portion of the development green-backs? And the United Emirates as global space partners with this diverse group of governments, space expertise, military might…or the lack there of?

    We cannot agree on how to handle a global pandemic that has had a strong influence, like it or not, on the entire planet’s economy. But we are going to kiss and sing “Kum By Ya” in space?…yeah right!