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The Moon. Photo: NASA/JSC

Eight nations signed on this week to the Artemis Accords, a set of principles for exploring the Moon and using its resources.

Why it matters: While NASA's Artemis program to land people on the Moon by 2024 is very much led and developed by the space agency, NASA officials want other countries to buy into lunar exploration through the Artemis Accords in order to make that exploration sustainable and international.

The state of play: The United States, Australia, Japan, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates are all signatories, according to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

  • Those nations that sign on to the accords either now or in the future will be expected to share scientific data openly, work to prevent the creation of space junk, preserve "space heritage" like landing sites and other provisions.
  • The accords specifically allow for the extraction of resources from the Moon for peaceful means.
  • "We're establishing what the rules and the norms of behavior are, as we do this, so that we can preserve space and make sure that when we do explore, we're doing it with peaceful purposes," Bridenstine said during a press briefing Monday. "We're doing it with transparency and clarity to avoid any kind of misperceptions and any kind of conflict."

But, but, but: Not all nations consider NASA's Moon program inclusive.

  • Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos, said this week at the International Astronautical Congress that NASA's plans for the Moon — specifically its small Gateway space station expected to orbit the natural satellite — are "too U.S.-centric."

Between the lines: China is also aiming to send people to the Moon in the coming years, but don't expect the nation to be added to the Artemis Accords anytime in the near future.

  • NASA is barred from partnering with China on any bilateral agreements like the accords without congressional approval.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 5, 2021 - Science

White House lays out new planetary protection guidelines against human contamination

Mars as seen by the Curiosity rover. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The White House laid out a plan last week for updating long-held rules around how to protect the Moon, Mars and other bodies from human contamination.

Why it matters: If a space agency or private company is looking for life on Mars or another deep space object, it's key to be sure any microbes detected are actually native and didn't hitch a ride from Earth.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
33 mins ago - Economy & Business

How GameStop exposed the market

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Retail traders have found a cheat code for the stock market, and barring some major action from regulatory authorities or a massive turn in their favored companies, they're going to keep using it to score "tendies" and turn Wall Street on its head.

What's happening: The share prices of companies like GameStop are rocketing higher, based largely on the social media organizing of a 3-million strong group of Redditors who are eagerly piling into companies that big hedge funds are short selling, or betting will fall in price.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

Who benefits from Biden's move to reopen ACA enrollment

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Nearly 15 million Americans who are currently uninsured are eligible for coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than half of them would qualify for subsidies, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief.

Why it matters: President Biden is expected to announce today that he'll be reopening the marketplaces for a special enrollment period from Feb. 15 to May 15, but getting a significant number of people to sign up for coverage will likely require targeted outreach.

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