It’s official: the Moon is open for business. Last week, NASA announced that seven countries had signed its so-called Artemis Accords, a series of bilateral agreements that allow national governments and private companies to extract and exploit space resources, including the Moon’s. Several more nations are “anxious” to sign the pact by year’s end.
U.S. officials have heralded the Artemis Accords as the pathway to a sustainable, prosperous and peaceable future in outer space. Named for NASA’s manned lunar mission, the agreement echoes several provisions from international space treaties the United Nations has negotiated since the late 1960s. It requires signatories to help distressed astronauts, register space vehicles with the UN Secretary-General and openly share scientific data. The document’s apparent conformity with established rules has caused commentators to portray it as benign, or else ignore it completely.
This is a mistake.
The Artemis Accords are not merely a code of