Eight nations, including U.S., sign accords for moon missions

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 13 (UPI) — Eight nations have signed NASA’s new framework to govern lunar exploration missions, the agency’s administrator, Jim Bridenstine, announced Tuesday.

By signing the agreement, the eight nations commit to peaceful activities on the moon and in travel to the moon.

Provisions in the Artemis Accords stipulate that nations, and private companies in those nations, will openly disclose plans for lunar missions, and mine resources on the moon in accordance with the international Outer Space Treaty that dates to 1967.

The accords also commit signing nations to render aid to other nations on the moon if necessary, to minimize space debris and to register all objects taken to the lunar surface.

In addition to the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates and Britain signed the Artemis Accords.

“We are one human race and we are in this together. The Accords help us to work together to benefit all,” Sarah Al Amiri, chair of the United Arab Emirates Council of Scientists, said in a live broadcast Tuesday.

Bridenstine had said in a press conference Monday that more nations are expected to sign the accords this year, and that he hopes all nations eventually will.

“As NASA, we always try to be very transparent and what our plans and policies are, and we think it’s good for all nations to be transparent with their plans,” Bridenstine said.

The new agreement comes as NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon in 2024, with further plans to establish a lunar base to tap water ice for possible long-term habitation.

NASA officials on Monday acknowledged they didn’t approach all space-faring nations in drafting the accords because the agency wanted to move quickly. NASA sought a few nations believed to have common values, said Mike Gold, associate administrator for NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations.

“We wanted to begin with a group substantive and large enough to make an impact,” Gold said. “It’s very challenging to do that with too large a group. Now that the text of the accords have been finalized we can broaden the coalition.”

Bridenstine said NASA couldn’t approach China, which already has landed two robotic missions on the moon, because federal law prohibits negotiations with China.

When asked how the accords would be enforced, Bridenstine said the intent of the agreement is to pre-empt conflict by being transparent.

“If one of the participants chooses to disregard the guidance, other participants … ultimately could be asked to leave the Artemis program, but I would hope that they will come to a better resolution,” Bridenstine said.

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Tracy Caldwell Dyson pauses for a portrait in her spacesuit before going underwater in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on July 8, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI

Kayla Barron dons her spacesuit in Houston on July 12, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI

Loral O’Hara stands in front of a T-38 trainer aircraft at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center on June 6, 2017. Photo by Robert Markowitz/NASA

Nicole Aunapu Mann attends the announcement that she was being assigned to the Boeing CST-100 Starliner Crew test flight to the International Space Station on August 3, 2018. Photo Bill Ingalls/NASA

Jessica Meir sits for her portrait in an Extravehicular Mobility Unit, the suit used for spacewalks, on September 11, 2018. Photo by Josh Valcarcel/NASA

Christina Koch collects and packs Mizuna mustard greens grown and harvested inside the International Space Station’s veggie botany facility on November 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of NASA

Stephanie Wilson poses for a portrait at Johnson Space Center on July 11, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

Expedition 59 astronaut Anne McClain is helped out of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft just minutes after she landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on June 25, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

Zena Cardman awaits the next steps from instructors during water survival training in Houston on August 23, 2017. Photo by David DeHoyos/NASA

Jasmin Moghbeli poses for a portrait in the Systems Engineering Simulator for the International Space Station and advanced spaceflight programs at the Johnson Space Center on July 9, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

Expedition 32 flight engineer and Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams participates in spacesuit fit check at the Johnson Space Center on September 8, 2011. Photo courtesy of NASA

Jeanette Epps sits for her portrait on September 30, 2009. Photo by Robert Markowitz/NASA

Megan McArthur poses for a portrait on the Crew Access Arm of the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 25, 2019. Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA

Jessica Watkins is helped into a spacesuit before underwater spacewalk training at Johnson Space Center on May 22, 2019. Photo by David DeHoyos/NASA

Kate Rubins prepares for a spacewalk on board the International Space Station on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of NASA

Shannon Walker welcomes viewers at the Johnson Space Center to watch the live coverage of Expedition 40/41 launch as it unfolds at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on May 28, 2014. Members of the crew can be seen on the nearby screen. Photo courtesy of NASA

NASA’s 16 women astronauts — at least one likely to walk on moon

Tracy Caldwell Dyson pauses for a portrait in her spacesuit before going underwater in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston on July 8, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI

Kayla Barron dons her spacesuit in Houston on July 12, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/UPI

Loral O’Hara stands in front of a T-38 trainer aircraft at Ellington Field near Johnson Space Center on June 6, 2017. Photo by Robert Markowitz/NASA

Nicole Aunapu Mann attends the announcement that she was being assigned to the Boeing CST-100 Starliner Crew test flight to the International Space Station on August 3, 2018. Photo Bill Ingalls/NASA

Jessica Meir sits for her portrait in an Extravehicular Mobility Unit, the suit used for spacewalks, on September 11, 2018. Photo by Josh Valcarcel/NASA

Christina Koch collects and packs Mizuna mustard greens grown and harvested inside the International Space Station’s veggie botany facility on November 13, 2019. Photo courtesy of NASA

Stephanie Wilson poses for a portrait at Johnson Space Center on July 11, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

Expedition 59 astronaut Anne McClain is helped out of the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft just minutes after she landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, on June 25, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

Zena Cardman awaits the next steps from instructors during water survival training in Houston on August 23, 2017. Photo by David DeHoyos/NASA

Jasmin Moghbeli poses for a portrait in the Systems Engineering Simulator for the International Space Station and advanced spaceflight programs at the Johnson Space Center on July 9, 2019. Photo by Bill Ingalls/NASA

Expedition 32 flight engineer and Expedition 33 commander Sunita Williams participates in spacesuit fit check at the Johnson Space Center on September 8, 2011. Photo courtesy of NASA

Jeanette Epps sits for her portrait on September 30, 2009. Photo by Robert Markowitz/NASA

Megan McArthur poses for a portrait on the Crew Access Arm of the mobile launcher at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on June 25, 2019. Photo by Joel Kowsky/NASA

Jessica Watkins is helped into a spacesuit before underwater spacewalk training at Johnson Space Center on May 22, 2019. Photo by David DeHoyos/NASA

Kate Rubins prepares for a spacewalk on board the International Space Station on August 10, 2016. Photo courtesy of NASA

Shannon Walker welcomes viewers at the Johnson Space Center to watch the live coverage of Expedition 40/41 launch as it unfolds at Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on May 28, 2014. Members of the crew can be seen on the nearby screen. Photo courtesy of NASA

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