A new report supports NASA exploration efforts in response to China’s space program.
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This week, seven nations and the United States have signed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) new framework to govern lunar exploration missions.
By signing the agreement, the eight nations commit to peaceful activities on the moon and in travel to the moon.
Provisions in the Artemis Accords stipulate that nations, and private companies in those nations, will openly disclose plans for lunar missions, and mine resources on the moon in accordance with the international Outer Space Treaty that dates to 1967.
The accords also commit signing nations to render aid to other nations on the moon if necessary, to minimize space debris and to register all objects taken to the lunar surface.
In addition to the United States, Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates and Britain signed the Artemis Accords.
Dare I say it…the accords are creating a federation for space exploration.
“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 Jim Bridenstine, NASA administrator.
The Artemis Accords, announced in May, provide a legal framework for exploring the moon, Mars, comets and asteroids, as well as releasing scientific data, registering space objects and “preserving outer space heritage.” The space agencies have also committed to peaceful exploration, transparency, providing emergency assistance to those in distress and “preventing harmful interference.”
It appears that the “harmful interference” is not coming from Klingons or Romulans, either.
A new report used the growth of China’s space program to argue for continued support of NASA’s own exploration ambitions as well as legislation to assist the space industry and space traffic management.
The China Task Force Report, prepared by a group of Republican House members and released Sept. 30, covers a wide range of issues that group linked to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and saw as threats to the United States. Much of the report was devoted to issues of national security and the economy.
However, two pages of the 130-page report discussed space exploration. In it, the task force noted Chinese development of a space station and long-term, although as yet unscheduled, plans human lunar mission. “The U.S. should be concerned about the technological innovations and leadership role for the CCP that could come from missions crewed by [People’s Republic of China]-nationals to the Moon,” it stated,
The recommendations in that section of the report, though, addressed NASA’s space exploration programs. “As the CCP seeks to attract international partners to support its own space exploration goals and expand its influence, the U.S. must maintain its presence in low-Earth orbit, return U.S. astronauts to the Moon, chart a future path for human exploration of Mars, and maintain a steady commitment to space science missions,” it stated.
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