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NASA is preparing to build a permanent base on the moon and, eventually, send astronauts to Mars — a feat it can’t accomplish alone.
The agency gained seven allies for future deep-space exploration on Tuesday, when the US signed a new agreement with Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
The Artemis Accords, named for NASA’s moon-and-Mars-bound human-spaceflight program, lay out some general rules for nations to follow as they join the effort: be peaceful, work together, and don’t leave behind junk that will cause problems for future space missions.
“This is the beginning of, I think, what is going to be an amazing opportunity to explore the moon and go on to Mars with the broadest, most diverse coalition in the history of humankind,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told reporters in a briefing on the announcement.
“We’re establishing what the rules and the norms of behavior are as we do this, so that we can preserve space and make sure that when we do explore, we’re doing it with peaceful purposes, we’re doing it with transparency and clarity to avoid any kind of misperceptions and any kind of conflict.”
The Artemis program, as NASA has laid out in a $28 billion proposal, would launch an uncrewed mission around the moon in 2021, followed by a crewed moon flyby in 2023, then a lunar landing in 2024.
Then NASA plans to build a permanent moon-orbiting base called the Gateway, similar to the International Space Station that orbits Earth. From there, the agency hopes to build a base on the lunar surface, where it can mine the resources required to fly the first astronauts to Mars.
All of this will require international and commercial partners.
With the Artemis Accords, NASA hopes to ensure that none of these partners ruin space for everyone else. The agreement builds on the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, translating its ideas into the new era of space exploration.
“If you want to join the Artemis journey, nations must abide by the Outer Space Treaty and other norms of behavior that will lead to a more peaceful, safe, and prosperous future in space exploration — not just for NASA and its partners, but for all of humanity to enjoy,” Mike Gold, acting associate administrator for NASA’s Office of International and Interagency Relations, said in the briefing.
Bridenstine promised the accords would onboard new countries in the near future. But for now, two major spacefaring nations — China and Russia — are notably absent from this new coalition.
Principles for deep-space exploration
The new accords detail 10 main principles which signatories agree to follow:
Peace. Cooperative activities under the Artemis Accords should be “exclusively for peaceful purposes.”
Transparency. Participating nations should share their policies and plans for space exploration, as well as any scientific information they obtain from activities under the accords.
Interoperability. Space-based infrastructure should be designed so that everybody can integrate their technology to fit it — like an “iPhone for space,” where anybody can design an app or hardware that that easily plugs in, …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Tech