Astronautes de la Nasa vivant et travaillant à la surface de la Lune lors de la mission Artemis III. © Nasa

France finally signs the Artemis agreements for the exploration of the Solar System: why are they controversial?

On the sidelines of the celebration of the 60me anniversary of the Cnes at the residence of the French Ambassador in Washington, Philippe Baptiste, President and General Director of the Cnes, in the presence of Bill Nelson, administrator of the POTsigned the artemis chords “. You should also know that these agreements are not limited to the moon A with a lowercase “L” being the satellite of a planet. For example Phobos and Deimos are the two moons of the planet Mars.
The Moon with a capital “L” is the only natural satellite of the Earth; probably the result of a collision 4.4 years ago…” data-image=” .jpg ” data-url=”” data-more=”Read more”>Moon. They also encompass Mars, comets, and asteroids, including on and below their surfaces. Its range also extends to the Lagrange points of the Earth-Moon system and transit between these celestial bodies and locations.

These agreements are not limited to the Moon. They also include Mars, comets, and asteroids.

These Artemis agreements, drafted by the United States, enumerate and establish a series of principles and rules that govern civil space exploration activities, whether they are carried out within the framework of the artemis program go back to the moon or not

controversial deals

However, these agreements are problematic. Indeed, depending on the interpretation made of it, certain jurists consider that the Artemisa agreements contradict the initial spirit of various international treaties, including the 1967 space treaty and the treaty on the Moon and other celestial bodies. of 1979. .

Both treaties provide for a principle of non-appropriation: “ the Moon and other celestial bodies do not belong to anyone and therefore cannot be the object of a property right. They belong to all mankind (res communis) “. However, the Artemis agreements provide ” the extraction and use of space resources, including any recovery from the surface or subsurface of the Moon, Mars, comets or asteroids “believing they can” serve humanity by providing critical support for the security and sustainability operations “. More worryingly, by joining the Artemis Accords, the signatories claim that ” removal does not in itself constitute an appropriation within the meaning of article 2 of the Outer Space Treaty “.

Another subject of controversy and concern, these agreements foresee “ security zones (safety zones) to be preserved from interference, including historically significant landing sites of assignments inhabited or robotics, artifacts, space vehicles and other evidence of activity on celestial bodies. In other words, we can think that the United States and all the signatory states grant each other property rights as soon as one of their historical or future missions arises anywhere on the Moon, Mars or an asteroid, for example. The term “historically important” can make you smile when you know that for decades to come, every manned exploration mission that will land anywhere on the solar system will be “historically significant”. Before these missions become routine, members of the Artemis Accords will have conquered many, many security zones.

That said, France obviously could not stand by, especially since the beginning of the war between Russia and Ukraine, the international situation has changed significantly. Strictly speaking, the conflict between these two countries did not precipitate the signing of France, which had made its decision in November 2021, during the visit of the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris. But, as the Cnes points out in its press release, the Artemisa agreements “ they offer many opportunities for industry and scientific research, both at national and European level. French companies in the sector are already actively participating in the Artemis programme. Therefore, France’s signature should make it possible to broaden and deepen this mutually beneficial cooperation. “. These few lines summarize France’s interest in joining them.

It should be noted that two major space powers, China and Russia, have not signed the Artemis agreements and it is unlikely that Russia will ever sign them. These two countries have publicly opposed these agreements, preferring a cooperation treaty that provides for a Russian-Chinese moon base.

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