Analysis: Who is responsible for cultural heritage preservation in outer space?
In the 1960s, the US Apollo spaceflight missions took humans to the Moon. Having stepped briefly on to another world, we then retreated back to Earth orbit. Only robotic orbiters and rovers have visited for decades. Nearly 50 years after the last humans left in 1972, NASA has declared that it will send the first woman and next man to the Moon in 2024.
They will not go alone. The United States has been inviting other nations to sign up to a set of principles for the next phase of lunar exploration called the Artemis Accords (the name invoking the god Apollo’s twin sister Artemis). Seven other countries have signed up so far. The Artemis Accords articulate ‘a shared vision for principles, grounded in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, to create a safe and transparent environment which facilitates exploration, science, and commercial activities for all of humanity to enjoy’.