NASA has released a set of interstellar instructions: No littering. Share. Work together. No fighting. They may sound like kindergarten classroom rules. But these guidelines are for the agency’s relaunched Moon-landing program. It’s a universal truth: Sinful humans need rules . . . wherever they set foot.
So far, the United States is the only country to land humans on the Moon: 12 men from 1969 through 1972. But much of the world is trying. Today, 72 countries have space programs; 14 have the ability for an actual launch. As space trips happen more often, the need for an agreed-upon code of behavior becomes necessary.
NASA calls its Artemis Accords “Principles for a Safe, Peaceful, and Prosperous Future.” The guidelines are based on the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. So far, eight countries have signed on.
Accords are mutual agreements. They’re not laws. However, they could create a useful basis for future legal or government structure on other planets.
NASA spokesman Mike Gold believes it’s important to “bring with us our values” to the Moon. That’s a start, but only those principles that fit with God’s laws will promote lasting peace wherever humans roam. (Psalm 119:165)
According to NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the Artemis Accords will likely pave the way for future Mars expeditions.
Rule No. 1 of the real-life space justice league: Activities must be peaceful. Other rules include the following:
-Secrecy about objects and missions is banned.
-All members must assist with emergencies.
-Scientific data must be shared.
-Historic sites must be preserved.
-Space junk must be disposed of properly.
-Space-goers must respect certain “safety zones.”
Founding members of the Artemis program include Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Bridenstine expects more countries to join the effort to put astronauts—including the first woman—on the Moon by 2024.
So far, no African or South American countries have signed on.
Russia is still on the fence about joining Artemis. The country’s space agency chief, Dmitry Rogozin, says the program is U.S.-centric. He would prefer cooperation similar to the International Space Station.
China, meanwhile, is out altogether. NASA is currently prohibited under U.S. law from signing any agreements with China.
And what happens to violators of the accords? They could be asked to leave the Moon. Bridenstine says the coalition could say, “Look, you’re in this program with the rest of us, but you’re not playing by the same rules.” Just like in grade school.