Eight countries have signed on as founding member nations to NASA’s Artemis Accords during the 71st International Astronautical Congress this week.
Those nations include Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
NASA released the Artemis Accords in May to establish a framework of principles for safely and responsibly planning for humanity’s return to the moon.
“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement.
“With today’s signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy.”
It’s been more than a year since NASA and Bridenstine released the name of Artemis, the next program to land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024. The program relies on partnerships, both international and commercial, to create a sustainable and lasting presence of humans on and around the moon, with the goal of eventually using Artemis to land the first people on Mars.
“Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions. Transparency, public registration, deconflicting operations — these are the principles that will preserve peace,” said Mike Gold, NASA acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations, in a statement. “The Artemis journey is to the Moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future.”
It’s likely that more countries will sign and join the Artemis Accords going forward. During the Congress this week, Dmitry Rogozin,