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Switzerland signs Artemis Accords to join NASA in moon exploration

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Swiss Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin joined NASA administrator Bill Nelson Monday (April 15), at the space agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to become the latest country to sign on to the agency’s Artemis Accords for moon exploration.

“Today, we marked a giant leap forward in the partnership between the United States and Switzerland,” Nelson said during the ceremony, praising the accords’ “commitment to explore the unknown openly and peacefully.” Switzerland is the 37th country to sign the Artemis Accords, following the inclusion of Greece and Uruguay in February.

Related: Cooperation on the moon: Are the Artemis Accords enough?

“Switzerland has a long-standing partnership with NASA on human space exploration as well as space and Earth sciences,” Parmelin said in a statement.

The Accords set out principles for peaceful and responsible exploration, most immediately guiding NASA’s lunar Artemis program. NASA is planning to send humans back to the moon as a part of the Artemis program, which ultimately aims to create a permanent presence on the lunar surface. Artemis 1, an uncrewed mission, launched in November, 2022. Artemis 2 and Artemis 3 are expected to launch in 2025 and 2026, respectively; first sending a crew to orbit, then to the moon’s surface.

The United States established the Artemis Accords in 2020 alongside seven other nations, and has been adding new countries ever since. The accords reinforce guidelines set out by the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which help govern international cooperation and coordination in outer space.

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