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Guest: Michelle Hanlon; The recent E.O. for the Moon and space resources plus the Artemis Accords and moving forward with the developing multilateral Artemis principles and more.
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We welcomed back to the show Michelle Hanlon of For All Moonkind to discuss the new Executive Order followed by The Artemis Accords putting forth the rules, regulations and ideas for lunar and space resource usage and development. This was a two segment 92 minute discussion on these new and important developments for a safe, peaceful and prosperous future based on space development, resource utilization, lunar return and more. Please read the draft Artemis Accords at www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis-accords/index.html. In addition, visit For All Moonkind at www.forallmoonkind.org to learn more about protecting our lunar and all space cultural and historic sites.
We started the discussion with our guest talking about the new Artemis Accords which followed the recent Executive Order for the Moon and space resource usage. By the way, here is a copy of the E.O: www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-encouraging-international-support-recovery-use-space-resources. Most of the first part of our discussion focused on the policy based on the E.O. and the draft of the Artemis Accords which were published just before our program started. Michelle explained the Accords, how they were supposed to work, the international collaboration with the use of Public Private Partnerships and as an extension of the OST, the use of bilateral and multilateral agreements with countries supporting the Accords. Note that the final Accords, language, terms, and principles remain to be worked out together with the Artemis partners.
Michelle also talked about the importance of preserving historic and cultural sites on the Moon and on other space objects. She noted this protection was part of the Accords. Much was said about the ISS and its structure which seemed to serve as a basis going forward for the new Artemis Accords. Property rights came up for discussion so note how our guest explained them in the context of the Artemis principles to be finalized. Additionally, much was said about The Moon Agreement and seeing space as a global commons. Our guest explained how the new path forward did not reflect Moon Treaty or global commons perspectives. Let us know what you think about this by posting your comments on our blog.
Our first caller was Robert in Houston who wanted to talk about larger issues including the safety zones Michelle talked about and explained in the early part of our discussion. Safety zones were and are meant to be zones of noninterference around the work of another country or company doing something on lunar surface. Robert made a type of comparison to nation's protecting territorial and coast waters. Enforcement was discussed as was the need for an orderly regulatory process, all to be worked out in the final Artemis Accords. Don't miss this important discussion with Robert.
Listener Todd sent in an email asking our guest how one can create rules when one does not even know how and when there will be a human return to the Moon let alone business operating on the lunar surface requiring safety zones. Don't miss how Michelle responded to this email question. Part of this discussion mentioned that the Accords being discussed were specifically for the Moon. For free space habitats, Mars and more, there would likely need to be separate and more applicable principles established though the Artemis Accords would serve as a model for going forward with other space destinations and commercial activity.
Michelle was asked about the possibility of acts of defiance by entrepreneurs, other governments and actors not willing to abide by the principles or just trying to side step them. The question was based on the fact that we are seeing defiance to Covid lockdown rules in most states right now. Why would one expect total compliance with the principles rather than scattered or more broad based acts of defiance to challenge whatever the final principles contain for lunar development. Listen to what our guest had to say about this and why she thought it was different than what we see with the Covid lockdown resistance going on around the country.
Ft. Worth John called to discuss planetary protection with our guest, asking who decides those rules. John's call finished out the first segment of our program with Michelle talking PP, the UN COSPAR and my talking about my limited experience with NASA Planetary Protection Officers.
Fremont John led off the second segment discussion by reading from a Reuters article saying the Artemis Accords and more were not legal or in the best interest of the US and other nations. Once again, listen to what Michelle had to say about the content of the article in question.
As we moved forward in the final segment, our guest talked about the Artemis Accords being designed for a peaceful and prosperous future using space resources that would benefit everyone. Listen to the examples she provided including the earlier Columbus voyages as an example of how exploration benefits the entire world. Before ending, I asked Michelle if protecting historic and cultural sites on the Moon included Celestis burial impact spots for their burial missions to the Moon. One such mission already took place years ago and another is planned for late next year. Michelle and I discussed this but as we found out, it had never been part of any discussion. I suggested I would drop Celestis a note, introduce them to Michelle, and see what happens. More to follow on this issue for sure.
Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog for this show. You can reach our guest through me or her For All Moonkind website per above.