'Hostile' Russia Excluded From US Moon Mining Pact

The Trump administration is reportedly in the process of drafting legal blueprints for mining on the moon, under a sponsored global agreement titled the Artemis Accords.

Whilst the drafted agreement has not yet been formally shared with allies of the United States, the moon has been seen as an increasingly important strategic asset in recent years.

NASA, as it grows increasingly involved in diplomacy in America, is invested billions of dollars into the Artemis project.

According to Reuters, the new US-sponsored treaty, aimed at replacing the 1979 Moon Treaty seeks to provide a framework under worldwide law for companies to own the resources they mine from the moon'.

The U.S. Defense Department increasingly views Russian Federation as a hostile spacefaring country due to its "threatening" satellite movements toward U.S. spy satellites and as a result won't include Moscow in early Artemis Accords negotiations, Reuters cited its sources as saying. The Executive Order on "Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources" addresses US policy regarding the recovery and use of resources in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies. USA officials will formally open negotiations with space partners such as Canada, Japan, the UAE and a host of European countries.

The US has been a member of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and interprets the "safety zones" as an enforcement of one of its highly discussed clauses.

One source told Reuters that the accords are not created to claim moon territory.

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The safety areas - whose size would vary depending on the mission - would help establishing coordination between space partners without technically claiming territory as their own, he said.

"The idea is if you are going to be coming near someone's operations. then you need to reach out to them in advance", a source tells Reuters.

Artemis Accords is widely seen as an attempt to consolidate the US' diplomatic efforts, despite risking disputes between Washington and space rivals such as China.

"The important thing is, countries all around the world want to be a part of this", Bridenstine said of the Artemis program. "That's the element of national power".

A draft of the Artemis Accords has not yet been officially shared with USA space partners, according to the outlet.

This illustration made available by NASA in April 2020 depicts Artemis astronauts on the Moon. The idea is to build a sustainable presence on the moon, enabling companies and countries to begin mining operations on lunar rocks and subsurface water, which could potentially be converted into rocket fuel.

The executive order did stress however, that worldwide support is being sought in regards to the "safe and sustainable" recovery and use of space-based resources.

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