The U.S. is setting agreements of conduct with countries planning to explore the moon. Jim Bridenstine, a NASA administrator, says these agreements govern the behaviour in the moon. These regulations are known as Artemis Accords. The name is a derivative of NASA’s Artemis program, which will be deploying astronauts to the moon in 2024.
These Accords are going to filter the sending up of hazardous dust by crafts coming into the moon by other countries. Laura Forczyk, a space consultant, says that the addition of operations on the moon impacts the moon’s current activities.
There is no common law guiding moon exploration. The only code is the Moon Agreement of 1984, stating that “the moon and its resources are the commonwealths of all mankind.” This law hinders the ownership of anything on the moon. However, countries capable of human space exploration are yet to sign the agreement rendering it ineffective.
Artemis Accords, on the other hand, protects the Apollo landing sites. These accords facilitate communication between nations, sharing moon exploration plans, share scientific data with the public and register any spacecraft they send for lunar exploits. Forczyk speculates that these rules require transparency, which might be a threat to potential parties. She reiterates that it is impeccable for the countries to share their classified information.
The other regulation concerns safety. The countries will have to declare safety zones to protect their operations on the moon. They will work to minimize the effects of chunks orbiting the moon and assist astronauts who are in trouble.
Laura Montgomery, a space lawyer, says these accords are to maintain sanity in space. She adds that the agreements ensure that other moon explorers do not invade other inhabitants of the moon. The laws provide that rocket remnants do not scatter space debris to the moon.
Instead of formulating an international agreement, the U.S. is signing bilateral agreements with countries to ease the process. This move is to ensure NASA’s crewed launch successfully docks on the moon. Montgomery says that this is more operational than a treaty for all nations to adjust numerous changes to the law.
Finally, the Artemis Accords are for public companies meaning private agencies will have to collaborate with their governments for smooth operation. The acceptance of the accords marks a path to suitable laws on the moon. When the moon finally attains laws, there will be transparency, safety, and reliability for all the moon inhabitants and explorers.