Countries Sign The Artemis Accords

June 11, 2021

Have you ever had to sign a contract? It may sound like something only adults do, but believe it or not, kids often sign contracts too. On the first day of school, does your classroom come up with rules? Do you promise to follow these rules? That, in a sense, is a contract that you’re verbally committing to in order to keep the classroom a safe and enjoyable place for everyone.

Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon.
via NASA

Countries also sign contracts when they work together. Recently, New Zealand became the eleventh country to sign the Artemis Accords, an international agreement between the countries who are working on the Artemis program—a program led by the United States to send the next man and woman to the moon by 2024. It’s an exciting time for space innovation and exploration, but sending people to the moon is no simple task. That’s why partnering up with countries around the world who have similar space exploration goals is important. It’s also vital that countries share an understanding of their roles in the program, the purpose of the program, and the general rules for future space exploration. Imagine years from now, when sending astronauts to Mars becomes a common occurrence and more and more items are brought to space. Whose responsibility is it to clean up all that space garbage that’s left behind? The Artemis Accords state that every participating country is responsible for disposing of things like defunct spacecraft to help keep outer space from being littered with garbage.

Side Note: Wondering why NASA wants to send people to the moon again? The hope is that continued human presence on the moon will help NASA and other space agencies plan for their future human mission to Mars. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind … to Mars!

What would you put in a contract to make space exploration civil, fair, and equitable for all?