Mexico City [Mexico], May 11 (ANI/Sputnik): Colombia has signed the Artemis Accords to join the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lunar program, intended to return humans to the moon by 2024 and conduct research on Mars, Colombian Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez said.
The signing ceremony took place at NASA Headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.
"Reduction of education and research gaps, sophistication of the Colombian aerospace industry, support for technology transfer and employment creation are some of the major benefits that the Artemis Accords will bring to the country," Ramirez tweeted after the ceremony.
NASA Deputy Administrator Pamela Melroy said that the space agency was proud to have Colombia join the program.
"Our efforts to create a sustainable presence at the Moon and later Mars requires the partnership and expertise of a diverse and robust cadre of nations that embrace peaceful exploration of space. We look forward to our future collaborations with Colombia as the world explores together," Melroy said.
Led by the State Department and NASA, the Artemis Accords are grounded in the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and promote values-based cooperation and encourage responsible and safe behavior in space. Those principles also underpin NASA's Artemis Program, which seeks to land the first woman and person of color on the moon.
The Artemis Program was launched in 2017 and intended to return humans to the moon as early as 2024, a deadline considered impossible by some experts. Other countries may join the project by signing the so-called Artemis Accords, which are a set of rules for the peaceful exploration of space.
The other 18 signatories of the Artemis Accords are Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. (ANI/Sputnik)