NASA on Friday set the stage for a global debate on the basics that govern how people will live and work on the Moon, as it released the key principles of an international pact for lunar research, the Artemis Accords.
The chords are meant to & # 39; safety zones & # 39; that would surround future lunar bases to prevent what the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration & # 39; harmful interference & # 39; mentioned of rival countries or companies operating in the area. They would also allow companies to own the lunar resources they mine, a critical element in enabling NASA contractors to convert the moon’s water ice into rocket fuel or my lunar minerals to build landing platforms.
The Accords are an important part of NASA’s efforts to try allies around its plan to build a long-term lunar surface presence under its Artemis lunar program. “What we’re doing is implementing the Outer Space treaty with the Artemis agreements,” NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine told Reuters, referring to a 1967 international pact that emphasizes that space should be used for peaceful rather than military purposes.
The framework will be used as an incentive for countries to adhere to US space standards of behavior, he added. “It applies to low Earth orbit, it also applies to the moon,” said Bridenstine. The agreements also oblige countries to adopt standards in the United Nations’ Guidelines for Reducing Space Debris, which regulate the prevention of hazardous space debris, and the Registration Treaty, which would oblige countries to provide orbital details of their “space objects”.
The United States Congress passed a law in 2015 that allows companies to own the resources they mine in space, but no such laws exist in the international community. The Artemis Accords seem, in line with the Trump administration’s space policy, to pave the way for companies to dig the moon under international law and to urge countries to enact similar national laws that govern the space activities of their private sector. would bind. & # 39; Why would private companies take the risk of going to mines if the legal situation was that they could not own them? & # 39; Lori Garver, former NASA deputy administrator, told Reuters. “So anything this does to clarify anything can really make progress in space development.”
CHINA AND RUSSIA Reuters reported earlier this month that the government of US President Donald Trump drew up the Artemis Accords.
In response, Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin criticized Washington for excluding Russia from early negotiations on the Space Exploration Pact, drawing parallels to US foreign policy in the Middle East. “The principle of invasion is the same whether it’s the moon or Iraq. A ‘coalition of the willing’ is being established,” Rogozin wrote on Twitter. & # 39; Only Iraq or Afghanistan stems from this. & # 39;
China said it is willing to cooperate with all parties in the exploration of the Moon “to make a greater contribution to building a community with a shared future for humanity,” said a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry. Business in a fax faxed to Reuters. The security zones – although intended to encourage coordination – have raised questions as to whether the accords are in accordance with the Outer Space Treaty, which states that the moon and other celestial bodies “are not subject to national appropriation by claiming sovereignty, by means of use or occupation or otherwise. “
The size of the security zones would vary depending on the nature of the site they surround and would not be an appropriation, Bridenstine said. They would follow the principle that “basically says that I stay out of the way, you stay away, and we can all operate in this space,” he added.
However, there is a question about who determines the size of the safety zones, said Ram Jakhu, an associate professor at McGill University’s Institute of Air and Space Law in Canada. “Security zones are necessary, but they can also be abused in a way that can become appropriation.” But Mike Gold, NASA’s associate administrator for international relations, told Reuters that the language on moonmining shouldn’t be of concern to other countries.
& # 39; The principles put forward here are nothing we think a responsible aerospace country would disagree & # 39 ;, he said. “Through the Artemis Accords, we hope the future will be much more like” Star Trek “and much less like” Star Wars “by being ahead of these issues,” Gold said.