Story at a glance
- Eight United Nations member countries have signed an agreement to work together peacefully on the Artemis program.
- Headed by NASA, the program aims to put the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024.
- The program is dependent on whether NASA is able to get the funding it needs.
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“Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a release. “With today’s signing, 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.”
Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom were the other signatories, notably leaving out the United State's longtime rival in space: Russia. The signing countries have agreed to transparency, common exploration infrastructure and standards and broader principles of peace and cooperation.
“Fundamentally, the Artemis Accords will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions. Transparency, public registration, deconflicting operations – these are the principles that will preserve peace,” said Mike Gold, NASA acting associate administrator for international and interagency relations, in a release. “The Artemis journey is to the Moon, but the destination of the Accords is a peaceful and prosperous future.”
The space agency has made a push for funding in recent months, requesting $3.2 billion from Congress. In February, the White House requested additional funding to cover the program’s first phase, which will cost $28 billion over four years, but a House appropriations bill in July provided just $600 million for fiscal year 2021.
"It is critically important that we get that $3.2 billion,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told the BBC.
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