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THE Trump administration is reportedly putting together a legal blueprint for mining on the moon as part of the Artemis Accords, a new US-sponsored international agreement.
The Artemis Accords propose “safety zones” that would surround future moon bases to prevent interference from rival nations or companies operating nearby, according to sources familiar with the pact.
The safety zones – which would vary in size depending on the operation – would help coordination between other groups in space without claiming territory as sovereign, one source told Reuters.
“The ides is if you are going to be coming near someone’s operations, and they’ve declared safety zones around it, then you need to reach out to them in advance, consult, and figure out how you can do that safely for everyone,” he said.
The pact would be the latest effort to garner support for NASA’s plan to put humans and space stations on the moon within the next decade.
It also aims to provide a foundation under international law for companies to own the resources they mine, the sources told Reuters.
Although the draft pact hasn’t been formally shared with US allies yet, US officials plan to formally negotiate with Canada, Japan, and other European countries in addition to the United Arab Emirates.
Government officials are aiming to sit down with countries the Trump administration views as having “like-minded” interests in lunar mining.
Russia, a major partner with NASA on the International Space Station, won’t be an early partner in the accords – the Pentagon views Moscow as hostile for “threatening” maneuvers towards US spy satellites, the sources said.
The Artermis Accords are part of Donald Trump’s plans to skip over the United Nations treaty process in favor of “like-minded nations”.
A treaty process would take too long and working with countries with little interest in space would be unproductive, a senior Trump administration official told Reuters.
As countries increasingly view space as a new military domain, the US-led pact is also a sign of NASA’s growing role as a means of American diplomacy.
“NASA’s all about science and technology and discovery, which are critically important, but I think less salient is the idea that NASA is a tool of diplomacy,” said NASA administrator Jim Brindestine.
“The important thing is, countries all around the world want to be a part of this. That’s the element of national power.”
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World news – THAT – Trump White House ‘drafting legal blueprint for moon mining’ as part of new deal called Artemis Accords