|Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies|
|Signed||December 18, 1979|
|Location||New York, USA|
|Effective||July 11, 1984|
|Parties||15 (as of January 2014)|
|Depositary||Government of the United States of America|
|Languages||English, French, Russian, Spanish and Turkish|
|Moon Treaty at Wikisource|
|International ownership treaties|
The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as the Moon Treaty or Moon Agreement, is an international treaty that turns jurisdiction of all celestial bodies (including the orbits around such bodies) over to the international community. Thus, all activities must conform to international law (notably this includes the UN Charter).
In practice it is a failed treaty since it has not been ratified by any nation which engages in self-launched manned space exploration or has plans to do so (e.g. the United States, some member states of the European Space Agency, Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, Japan, and India) since its creation in 1979, and thus has a negligible effect on actual spaceflight. As of 2013, it has been ratified by 15 states.
The treaty makes a declaration that the Moon should be used for the benefit of all states and all peoples of the international community. It also expresses a desire to prevent the Moon from becoming a source of international conflict. To those ends the treaty does the following:
- Bans any military use of celestial bodies, including weapon testing or as military bases.
- Bans all exploration and uses of celestial bodies without the approval or benefit of other states under the common heritage of mankind principle (article 11).
- Requires that the Secretary-General must be notified of all celestial activities (and discoveries developed thanks to those activities).
- Declares all states have an equal right to conduct research on celestial bodies.
- Declares that for any samples obtained during research activities, the state that obtained them must consider making part of it available to all countries/scientific communities for research.
- Bans altering the environment of celestial bodies and requires that states must take measures to prevent accidental contamination.
- Bans any state from claiming sovereignty over any territory of celestial bodies.
- Bans any ownership of any extraterrestrial property by any organization or person, unless that organization is international and governmental.
- Requires all resource extraction and allocation be made by an international regime.
The treaty was finalized in 1979 and entered into force for the ratifying parties in 1984. As a follow-on to the Outer Space Treaty, the Moon Treaty intended to establish a regime for the use of the Moon and other celestial bodies similar to the one established for the sea floor in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The L5 Society and others successfully opposed ratification of the treaty by the US Senate.
As of January 2013, only 15 states (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Uruguay) are parties to the treaty, 7 of which ratified the agreement and the rest acceded. France, Guatemala, India and Romania have signed but not ratified.
- "Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies". United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs. Retrieved 2013-05-16.
- Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, Dec. 5, 1979, 1363 U.N.T.S. 3
- Chapter 5: O'Neills Children, Reaching for the High Frontier, The American Pro-Space Movement 1972-84, by Michael A. G. Michaud, National Space Society.
- Michael Listner (March 19, 2012). "The Moon Treaty: it isn't dead yet". The Space Review. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- "Reference: C.N.124.2012.TREATIES-2 (Depositary Notification)". New York, NY: United Nations. Retrieved 2012-04-03.
- Status of international agreements relating to activities in outer space as at 1 January 2008 United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, 2008
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