What are the Artemis Accords?

What are the Artemis Accords?

As humanity begins to step out of our cradle, the issue of how governance and space exploration will be operated, becomes quite apparent. Solving these issues now, such as how territory beyond Earth will be divided up, is important as it reduces the threat of war. In essence, measures to solve any future tension, is far better to do now, before said tensions arise. So, how can we mitigate future tension?

The "Artemis Accords" is one example of policy being implemented now, for future exploration and colonization. The Artemis Accords have been signed by 29 nations, thus far. Some of the most notable nations are, India, the United States, Japan, Canada, and France.

NASA proposed these accords back in October of 2020, with 8 founding nations signing. Since then, the coalition has grown by 20, and it is poised to continue growing.

The Artemis Accords cover a plethora of topics, such as: Limiting space debris, peaceful relations, peaceful intentions for space exploration, deconfliction of activities, releasing scientific data, and transparency, to name a few. All of these principles are important to have for long term and healthy space colonization. Hopefully as the years go by, more nations join the Artemis Accords or create similar policies for the future.

This map shows all 29 current Artemis Accords members as of September 2023.

Issues with the Artemis Accords

There are some controversies surrounding the accords however. Russia said the accords are "US-Centric" and China doesn't want to be apart of it due to the Wolf Amendment. China and Russia, along with other nations, think this is a power grab by the United States and her allies. These nations say that due to the fact no African or South American nations were founding members, makes the accords a ploy for the US and her allies to stay ahead.

The other issue nations have brought up, is that by signing the accords you are in the hands of the United States. Thus the US can use their power as leverage to get partnership deals with other nations. They also can get lucrative financial contracts that will help ensure they stay a dominate force in the future space industry.

My take away with the Artemis Accords

The Artemis Accords build off of already founded agreements. Such as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Moon Agreement of 1979. But despite the fact the treaty didn't add too much, it still laid out important ground work and shows that governments are looking more to the future than ever before. The Artemis Accords are basically a step in the right direction, but more steps need to be taken.

I do see the concerns some nations have with the seeming "US-centric" accords though. I feel like the United States, along with China and the rest of the world, need to figure space policy now, rather than when tensions are high.

All in all, we are the same species and should strive to spread life into the cosmos.