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NASA's "Artemis Accords" have ironed out the details in some old rules and established new ones for greater international cooperation in outer space. This initiative will set clear boundaries and expectations towards future growth and opportunity for all as the world continues to explore space.

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What NASA has laid out

NASA's plan for returning once again to the Moon will also bring about another important step in space exploration: space cooperation. The agency hopes to modernize international cooperation and in line with this, has published a set of voluntary guidelines. 

The guidelines will allow partner nations and organizations which have been invited to join to advance the cause of exploration and global industry. It's not a small feat to accomplish, but if handled meticulously and adequately, it may bring about a new golden age for humanity in terms of cooperation on a global scale.

Why then were the guidelines created besides for global cooperation? Space has no national affiliation, and no sovereign country has laid claim to it since we all share the same space. This, however, is about to change since countries like the United States have already created their own US Space Force. Other countries will most probably create their own.

There is no law yet for space, but many nations have already agreed to take part in several agreements and treaties. The final frontier of humanity, in terms of space exploration, colonization, and mining should be taken seriously by nations. That's why NASA had to create new guidelines, or at the very least, put a new set of rules in place.

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What are the "Artemis Accords"?

The "Artemis Accords" aims to reiterate the importance of the old rules that were established, as well as introduce new ones for contemporary times. 

NASA described the rules in a statement explaining the reasoning behind so that they would be understood by even the most lay audience. The following are the new rules from the Artemis Accords:

  • Publicly describe policies and plans in a transparent manner.

  • Publicly provide the location and general nature of operations to create 'Safety Zones' and avoid conflicts.

  • Use international open standards, develop new such models if necessary, and support interoperability as far as is practical.

  • Release scientific data publicly in a full and timely manner.

  • Protect sites and artifacts with historical value. (For example, Apollo program landing sites, which have no real lawful protection.)

  • Plan for the mitigation of orbital debris, including safe and timely disposal of end-of-life spacecraft.

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The Old Rules Which Are Being Reaffirmed:

  • Conduct all activities only for peaceful purposes, per the Outer Space Treaty.

  • Take all reasonable steps to help astronauts in distress, per the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts and other agreements.

  • Register objects sent into space, per the Registration Convention.

  • Perform space resource extraction and utilization according to the Outer Space Treaty Articles II, VI, and XI.

  • Inform partner nations regarding "safety zones" and coordinate according to Outer Space Treaty Article IX.

  • Mitigate debris per guidelines set by the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The Artemis program hopes to place the next American man and woman on the Moon's surface in 2024, and the mission will lean on private launch providers to an unprecedented degree of cooperation between government and private companies while maintaining necessary levels of safety and reliability. 

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