National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Tuesday announced the signing of an international agreement between eight countries called the Artemis Accords that outlines the principles of future exploration of the Moon and beyond.
Its members include Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States.
NASA’s Artemis programme aims to return humans to Earth’s nearest neighbour by 2024.
“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration programme in history, and the Artemis records are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.
“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,” he added.
NASA emphasised the need for international partnerships in building up a sustainable presence on the Moon.
The agency’s principles include excavation of ice from the Moon’s south pole in order to supply both drinking water and to split the molecules apart to make rocket fuel for the onward journey; peaceful exploration in a transparent manner; create hardware systems that are operable by every member nation; and registering of their space objects.
Other principles include rendering assistance to each other in case of emergency; make their scientific data public; preserve the heritage of outer space and plan for the safe disposal of space debris.
The Artemis Accords exclude China as well India.