Through the Artemis program, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aims at landing the first woman and the next man on the surface of the moon by 2024. The mission is proposed to harness space exploration and utilization for the new era.
While the Artemis program will be led by NASA, many international partners may play an important role in accomplishing a robust and sustainable presence on the moon. Following this achievement, NASA plans to conduct a huge mission for Mars also.
To date, many countries along with private sector companies have joined hands with the mission and are taking part in operations. Therefore, it becomes necessary for this space program to establish a common set of guidelines that can govern the civil exploration part along with outer space usage.
What are the Artemis Accords?
The Artemis Accords can be described as a mechanism through which a shared vision can be established with the help of common principles laid for outer space mission and grounded on the Outer Space Treaty of 967. This will help countries in creating a transparent and safer environment that facilitates science, exploration and commercial activities for every human.
Artemis Accord Program principles
The international partnerships for Artemis aim not just to boast space exploration but also to develop a peaceful partnership between the participating nations. The core of Artemis Accords is to see that every activity conducted in outer space is for peaceful purpose only and according to the Outer Space Treaty tenets.
The second important principle of Artemis Accord is to maintain a responsible civil space exploration. This shows that NASA had always tried to maintain its responsible policies and cares for the masses. The partner nations of Artemis Accords will be asked to keep up with this principle and describe the policies to the public besides planning future missions transparently.
The interoperability principle laid in Artemis Accords ensures that robust and safe exploration is maintained in outer space. This calls for every partner nation to use open international standards, strive to support interoperability as much as possible and develop new principles when required for better programs.
One of the most important criteria of a responsible civil space program is to assist others during emergencies. Similarly, Artemis Accords require NASA and partner stations to make commitments to agree upon Rescue of Astronauts and the Return of Astronauts along with Return of Objects Launched in Outer Space.
Registration of Space Objects
At the core of creating a sustainable and safe environment, registration of space object is necessary to conduct private and public activities. Without registrations, coordination to interfere during extreme conditions becomes very complicated. The Artemis Accords, therefore, reinforces the registration process and requires partner nations to acknowledge and become a member of Registration Convention as soon as possible.
Release of Scientific Data
Sharing scientific data timely in an open way is the prime objective of NASA. This means Artemis Accords will agree to follow NASA’s footsteps and release scientific data publicly so that the world can benefit from the journey made by Artemis to explore and discover outer space.
Another important principle laid in the Artemis Accords is to protect artefacts and heritage sites in space just like on earth. Therefore, every partner nation will have to sign Artemis Accords agreements to commit protection of artefacts and historic sites.
To use and extract resources in Mars, moon or asteroid can be a matter of space security. Thus, the Artemis Accords ensures that space resources can be extracted and utilised provided they do not harm the outer space environment. This can be ensured by following Article II, VI and XI of the Outer Space Treaty.
Deconfliction of Activities
Through Artemis Accords, the partner nations and NASA will have to provide public information’s timely regarding the general nature and location of operations carried to inform the scope and scale of operation particularly in the ‘Safety Zones’. By coordination and notifications maintained between the partner nations, mutual respect can be gained and prevent harmful interference.
Orbital Debris and Spacecraft Disposal
To ensure a sustainable and safe environment in the space, it is necessary to comprehend what activities must be performed by both private and public companies. The partner nations and NASA will agree for removing orbital debris timely and safely besides disposing of their spacecraft after every mission securely.