The Artemis Agreements, created by the American Aerospace Agency NASA to determine the rules for exploration on the Moon, were signed by America and 7 other countries.
The United Arab Emirates, UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Italy and Luxembourg signed the US-led agreement yesterday, with more countries expected to follow suit.
Canada and Britain were also among the eight nations that signed the pact at an online ceremony during the annual International Astronautical Congress.
The eight countries are the USA, the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Italy, Luxembourg and the UAE.
Among the key things the new accords will look to uphold are Peaceful Exploration, meaning no in-fighting among partner nations; Transparency, to avoid such confusion and conflict; Interoperability, which will see partner countries use systems that can work interchangeably to ensure greater safety; Emergency Assistance, which will see partners give help to partner personnel in danger; and the Release of Scientific Data, meaning signatory countries promise to tell the world what they've found.
Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator, said he expects even more countries to join the effort to put astronauts back on the moon by 2024, according to AP.
NASA: No fighting or littering on the Moon
While NASA is leading the Artemis program, it has emphasized the need for worldwide partnerships in building up a sustainable presence on the Moon, something the agency views as key ahead of an eventual human mission to Mars. The country's space agency chief, Dmitry Rogozin, said at an International Astronautical Congress virtual meeting Monday that the Artemis program is USA -centric and he would prefer a model of cooperation akin to the International Space Station.
The accords, NASA says, reinforce the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which governs nations involved in space exploration.
According to the British newspaper "Daily Mail", British companies will be able to bid for contracts worth at least 18 million pounds to build aspects of the new station through the UK's partnership with the European Space Agency.
Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse global human space exploration program in history ...
But two key players in space exploration, Russian Federation and China, are missing.
The terms set in the Artemis Accords apply for moon exploration in this decade and set the precedent for a historic expedition to Mars in the 2030s.
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