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Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (Moon Agreement)

Opened for signature: 18 December 1979.

Entered into force: 11 July 1984.

Number of Parties: 10 States — (including) Australia, Austria, Chile, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines and Uruguay.

Number of Signatories: 5 States — France, Guatemala, India, Peru, and Romania.

Depositary: UN Secretary-General.

The Moon Agreement was signed in December 1979 following an initiative by the Soviet Union. On 5 December 1979, the UN General Assembly adopted the Agreement in resolution 34/68.

Treaty Text

Treaty Obligations: The Moon Agreement supplements the Outer Space Treaty and confirmed the demilitarization of the Moon and other celestial bodies as provided for in that treaty. The Agreement also prohibits the use or threat of use of force, or any other hostile action or threat of hostile action on the Moon, which is reserved exclusively for peaceful activities. It prohibits the use of the Moon in order to commit any hostile act or to engage in any such threat in relation to the Earth, the Moon, spacecraft, the personnel of spacecraft, or man-made space objects. States Parties shall not place in orbit around or other trajectory to or around the Moon objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction or place or use such weapons on or in the Moon.

The agreement forbids the establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications on the Moon and, the testing of any type of weapons, and the conduct of military maneuvers on the Moon. But the use of military personnel for scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes is not prohibited. The use of any equipment or facility necessary for peaceful exploration and use of the Moon is not prohibited.

States Parties are committed to inform the UN Secretary-General as well as the public and the international scientific community, to the greatest extent feasible and practicable, of their activities concerned with the exploration and use of the Moon. Information on the time, purposes, locations, orbital parameters, and duration is to be given in respect of each mission to the Moon as soon as possible after launching, while information on the results of each mission, including scientific results, shall be furnished upon completion of the mission. In the case of a mission lasting more than 60 days, information on conduct of the mission, including any scientific results, is to be given periodically, at 30-day intervals. For missions lasting more than six months, only significant additions to such information need be reported thereafter.

As reflected in the provisions of this Agreement the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind. The Moon is not subject to national appropriation by any claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means. Neither the surface nor the subsurface of the Moon, nor any part thereof or its natural resources, can become the property of any State, international intergovernmental or non-governmental organization, national organization or non-governmental entity, or of any natural person. The placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on or below the surface of the Moon, including structures connected with its surface or subsurface, shall not create a right of ownership over the surface or the subsurface of the Moon or any areas thereof.

Verification and Compliance:

Verification: Each State Party may assure itself that the activities of other States Parties in the exploration and use of the Moon are compatible with the provisions of this Agreement. To this end, all space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations, and installations on the Moon shall be open to other States Parties. Such States Parties shall give reasonable advance notice of a projected visit, so that appropriate consultations may be held and maximum precautions may be taken to assure safety and to avoid interference with normal operations in the facility to be visited. Any State Party may act on its own behalf or with the full or partial assistance of any other State Party or through appropriate international procedures within the framework of the United Nations and in accordance with the UN Charter.

Compliance: A State Party which has reason to believe that another State Party is not fulfilling its obligations under this Agreement or that another State Party is interfering with the rights which the former State Party has under this Agreement may request consultations with that State Party. A State Party receiving such a request shall enter into such consultations without delay. Any other State Party that requests to do so shall be entitled to take part in the consultations. Each State Party participating in such consultations shall seek a mutually acceptable resolution of any controversy and shall bear in mind the rights and interests of all States Parties. The UN Secretary-General shall be informed of the results of the consultations and shall transmit the information received to all States Parties concerned.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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The Moon Agreement is a supplement to the Outer Space Treaty, and confirms the de-militarization of the Moon and other celestial bodies.

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