Japan, others agree principles for exploring space

Artemis astronauts on surface of Moon

The new development comes at a time when NASA is gearing up with its upcoming Artemis mission, which will land the first woman and the next man on the moon in 2024.

"The Artemis Accords are an important achievement for safe and sustainable space exploration", Campbell said in a statement.

British companies will be able to bid to build all or parts of the European Space Agency's housing and service units on the station, and NASA will have their own housing and service units built by United States manufacturers.

With the signing on Tuesday, "we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy", Bridenstine said. The moon also has value for long-term scientific research that could enable future missions to Mars - activities that fall under a regime of worldwide space law widely viewed as outdated.

The accords, which establish rules for extracting and using "space resources", commit signatories to exploring space peacefully and in the spirit of worldwide co-operation.

A different worldwide framework, the Outer Space Treaty, has been ratified by over 100 countries but does not set rules on resource extraction, while the United Nations' so-called Moon Agreement bars individuals and businesses from claiming possession of celestial bodies but has not been ratified by leading spacefaring countries such as the United States, Russia, China and Japan.

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"The Artemis journey is to the Moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future".

The accords, named after NASA's Artemis moon program, seek to build on existing global space law by establishing "safety zones" that would surround future moon bases to prevent conflict between states operating there, and by allowing private companies to own the lunar resources they mine.

But, Bridenstine told reporters, that would have taken too long.

The eight countries are the United States, the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Italy, Luxembourg and the UAE.

However, not everyone seems onboard with NASA's plans. China and Russian Federation are not members of the framework.

But, Rogozin, whose speech by video link was translated live, left open the chance of some future collaborative projects.

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