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As Nations Eye Mining Moon, the 'Artemis Accords' Emerges

Trump administration reportedly creates international pact on moon bases, resource mining
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2020 9:35 AM CDT
Trump Administration Drafts Rules for Lunar Life: Report
This illustration depicts Artemis astronauts on the moon.   (NASA via AP)

The Trump administration is reportedly working on an international agreement that would lay out ground rules for moon bases and lunar mining. The Artemis Accords, named for NASA's new Artemis moon program, proposes having "safety zones" around a country's moon base. "The idea is if you are going to be coming near someone's operations ... then you need to reach out to them in advance," a source tells Reuters. The outlet notes a base can't be claimed as sovereign territory, as the 1967 Outer Space Treaty states celestial bodies are "not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means." But the goal here is coordination so as to prevent interference between rival operations, a source says. These bases will be hugely important when it comes to mined resources.

While Trump has signed an executive order allowing the US to claim resources it mines in space, per Fox News, this agreement lays out international rules for doing so, according to sources. Rather than enter the lengthy United Nations treaty process, which would involve working with countries with no interest in space, the US is seeking an agreement with "like-minded nations," a senior administration official tells Reuters. Negotiations with Canada, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and European countries are expected in the coming weeks. It looks like Russia is to be excluded after launching a missile system believed to be able to destroy satellites in low Earth orbit, reports Newsweek. NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Tuesday that participation hinged on adhering to "norms of behavior that we expect" in space. (Companies are already designing moon landers.)

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