AMERICAN RULES FOR CONDUCT ON CELESTIAL BODIES – SAFETY ZONES FOR MINING AND EXPLORATION

National Interest on May 16, 2020, reported on the new American legal framework, the Artemis Accords, for future mining and exploration. For excerpts see below:

NASA has revealed a series of principles that will govern the behavior of countries and companies on the moon and in space.

Despite opposition from some countries, the United States has long believed that nations and companies should be allowed to extract and use resources on the moon. With its Artemis program, NASA is aiming to return astronauts to the lunar surface by the year 2024.

The space agency will require allied countries to sign the doctrine if they want to participate in the lunar exploration program. NASA said the accord focuses on creating a “safe and prosperous future” between nations amid the shared goal of space exploration, which includes being fully transparent, assisting astronauts in trouble, registering space objects and releasing scientific data.

The agency noted that the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which prohibits nations from laying claim to the moon and other celestial bodies, is still valid, but the new Artemis Accords builds on the legal framework to help boost inter-country cooperation in space. More than 100 countries are included in the treaty, and 26 others have signed it but have yet to complete ratification.

“While NASA is leading the Artemis program, international partnerships will play a key role in achieving a sustainable and robust presence on the moon while preparing to conduct a historic human mission to Mars,” NASA said in a statement.

“With numerous countries and private sector players conducting missions and operations in cislunar space, it’s critical to establish a common set of principles to govern the civil exploration and use of outer space.”

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