Washington, May 16 (IANS) As NASA plans to return humans to the Moon by 2024 under its Artemis programme, the US space agency has laid out certain principles for responsible space exploration that will guide all its international partners.
Grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the Artemis Accords are designed to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy, NASA said on Friday.
"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.
International space agencies that join NASA in the Artemis programme will do so by executing bilateral Artemis Accords agreements.
NASA said international cooperation on Artemis is intended not only to bolster space exploration but to enhance peaceful relationships between nations.
"Therefore, at the core of the Artemis Accords is the requirement that all activities will be conducted for peaceful purposes, per the tenets of the Outer Space Treaty," NASA added.
Artemis Accords partner nations will be required to uphold transparency by publicly describing their own policies and plans in a transparent manner.
Providing emergency assistance to those in need is a cornerstone of any responsible civil space programmr.
Therefore, the Artemis Accords reaffirm NASA's and partner nations' commitments to the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
Additionally, under the Accords, NASA and partner nations commit to taking all reasonable steps possible to render assistance to astronauts in distress.
Artemis Accords partners will have to release their scientific data publicly to ensure that the entire world can benefit from the Artemis journey of exploration and discovery.
Therefore, under Artemis Accords agreements, NASA and partner nations will also commit to the protection of sites and artifacts in space with historic value.
"The ability to extract and utilize resources on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids will be critical to support safe and sustainable space exploration and development," NASA said, adding that the Artemis Accords reinforce that space resource extraction and utilisation can and will be conducted under the auspices of the Outer Space Treaty.