End the duopoly

NASA Proposes New Rules for Moon-Focused Space Race

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discusses the agency’s Artemis program and international partnerships during a presentation at the 70th International Astronautical Congress in October 2019. Credit: If all goes according to plan, humans will be visiting—and developing—the moon and its resources well before the decade is out, following multiple nations ramping up their lunar-exploration efforts. But will this new frontier be a stage for competition or collaboration? NASA’s newly released set of ideals—called the Artemis Accords—aims to ensure international cooperation and a “safe, peaceful, and prosperous future” for everyone on the moon—provided they abide by the accords and partner with the U.S.

The accords stem from NASA’s Artemis program, catapulted into being by President Donald Trump’s White House and a National Space Council edict to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024. Artemis involves activities in cislunar space—that is, between the Earth and the moon—and smack-dab on the lunar landscape.

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NASA offered its first public glimpse of the accords on May 15, via a pitch outlining 10 proposed principles in broad brush strokes. Grounded in the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty of 1967, these new guidelines are sparse on specifics but generally suggest norms of behavior, with the U.S. notionally leading by […]

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