The Artemis Accords – Law for Lunar Explorers

While the Artemis Accords sounds like a treaty to come out of a sci-fi film, Japan joins the latest group of nations to agree to collaborate on the Artemis Program. The goal of the Artemis Program is for NASA to corroborate with other nations for lunar surface exploration and establishment of a foothold to Mars. NASA’s immediate goal is to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024, heralding a new era for space exploration and utilization. And signing the Joint Exploration Declaration of Intent, code-named JEDI, along with the Artemis accords establishes a common set of principals to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967[1] (“Treaty”) of both governments and private companies.

Among the agreements of the Artemis Accords are to promote international cooperation for peaceful purposes, transparency, interoperability through implementation of international standards, provide emergency assistance when needed, register space objects, release scientific data to the world at large, protect historic sites around the moon (such as the Apollo 11 landing site), space resource extraction and utilization to be conducted under the tenets of the Treaty, the creation of “safety zones” and information of locations off-limits to the general public, and the mitigation of orbital debris and Spacecraft disposal. The Artemis Accords are just one small step to continued space exploration and our return to the moon and the giant leap beyond.

[1] The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 is a list of agreements between the countries of the United Nations to promote both support stability and the de-escalation of power in space. The Treaty outlines the safe space exploration of any country; a ban on sovereignty/militarization of space, the moon, and other celestial bodies; emergency rescues; convention on International Liability for damage caused by space objects; registration of space object; prohibit activities in space; use of nuclear power sources in space exploration; and etcetera.