In a bombshell exclusive, Reuters reports the Trump administration is readying plans to initiate a pact among US allies for mining the moon:
The Trump administration is drafting a legal blueprint for mining on the moon under a new U.S.-sponsored international agreement called the Artemis Accords, people familiar with the proposed pact told Reuters.
The agreement would be the latest effort to cultivate allies around NASA’s plan to put humans and space stations on the moon within the next decade, and comes as the civilian space agency plays a growing role in implementing American foreign policy. The draft pact has not been formally shared with U.S. allies yet.
Notably, and now grabbing international headlines, Russia is to be excluded from the pact, which is already sounding like a 'NATO in space' alliance of sorts, due to its "hostile" actions which includes “threatening” satellite maneuvers toward US spy satellites in Earth orbit.
The Artemis Accords, named after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s new Artemis moon program, propose “safety zones” that would surround future moon bases to prevent damage or interference from rival countries or companies operating in close proximity.
The pact also aims to provide a framework under international law for companies to own the resources they mine, the sources said.
The report notes further the moon is expected to be a future jumping off point for similar exploration and mining possibilities on Mars.
The White House has already named specific partner countries it expects to kickstart the moon mining pact with:
In the coming weeks, U.S. officials plan to formally negotiate the accords with space partners such as Canada, Japan, and European countries, as well as the United Arab Emirates, opening talks with countries the Trump administration sees 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 these accords, the sources said, as the Pentagon increasingly views Moscow as hostile...
However, anonymous top US officials interviewed by Reuters sought to underscore: “This isn’t some territorial claim.”
The Artemis Accords ... propose “safety zones” that would surround future moon bases to prevent damage or interference from rival countries or companies operating in close proximity. Via @joroulette @Reuters https://t.co/X9cf2kObCw— Sarah Cammarata (@sarahjcamm) May 6, 2020
“The idea 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,” the source added.
But we highly doubt Moscow will see it like this, given it looks like Washington is trying to claim moon resources exclusively for itself and its allies, even before the futuristic sounding industry of 'moon mining' gets its start, not to mention the question of whether the technology exists to mine the moon on a large scale.
Since the launch of Trump's 'Space Force' - now officially the newest branch of the American military, critics warned of a coming and dangerous 'weaponization of space'. Russian officials and media especially underscored just such a likelihood.
The newly revealed 'Artemis Accords' sound precisely like a first monumental step toward this future scenario.