Recently, India became the 27th signatory to the Artemis Accords, a set of non-binding guidelines that underpin the Artemis programme, a U.S.-led project to return humans to the moon permanently.
About Artemis Accord:
- Artemis, named after the Greek Moon goddess, represents a comprehensive agreement drawn up by the US to bring together nations that share a common vision for civil space exploration.
- It serves as a framework for cooperation and collaboration in space exploration, building upon the foundation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.
- The Artemis Accords were jointly launched by the United States Department of State and NASA on October 13, 2020, with seven partner countries, such as Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, UAE, and the UK.
- The Accords have been signed by 26 countries as of June 23, including the original eight. These include traditional US allies like Japan, Australia, the UK, France, and Canada, but also countries with relatively less developed space programmes like Colombia, Rwanda, Nigeria, and Mexico.
- The principles of the Artemis Accords include
- peaceful exploration,
- full transparency in space activity,
- including public release of scientific data,
- interoperability of systems to enhance safety and sustainability,
- emergency assistance to personnel in distress,
- preserving outer space heritage,
- extracting and utilising space resources in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty, and
- The safe disposal of orbital debris.
- The Artemis programme includes plans for a base on the lunar surface, multiple spacecraft to ferry humans and cargo, an orbiting space station, and a constellation of satellites to help with navigation and communication. The first Artemis crewed mission to the moon’s surface is likely in 2026.
- NASA is also keen to emphasise that the Artemis programme will take the first woman, and the “first person of colour”, to the moon.
- By joining the Artemis Accords, ISRO gains access to valuable technologies and opportunities for scientific and technological advancements. Collaboration with NASA would enable knowledge-sharing and technology transfer and enhance India’s space exploration efforts.
- The joint mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2024, coupled with the Gaganyaan human moduleflights, would set the stage for India to raise its space aspirations
Q1) What is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967?
The 1967 Outer Space Treaty bans the stationing of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in outer space, prohibits military activities on celestial bodies, and details legally binding rules governing the peaceful exploration and use of space. The treaty entered into force Oct. 10, 1967, and has 110 states-parties, with another 89 countries that have signed it but have not yet completed ratification.