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Brazil makes history in signing the Artemis Accords for moon exploration

Marcos Pontes, Brazil's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation signs the Artemis Accords next to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on June 15, 2021.
Marcos Pontes, Brazil's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation signs the Artemis Accords next to Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on June 15, 2021. (Image credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR)

Brazil has signed on to the NASA-led Artemis Accords initiative to explore the moon responsibly. 

The country became the first South American nation to sign the Artemis Accords, a guideline for the responsible exploration of the moon, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced Tuesday (June 15). The nations on board with these exploration principles include the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and now, Brazil. 

Agreeing to these guidelines, these nations are also signing on to participate in NASA's Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the moon in 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence by the end of the decade. 

Related: 8 nations sign US-led Artemis Accords for moon exploration and beyond

"Under the Artemis program, the United States will land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon and we're going to do that together with our international partners and commercial partners," Nelson said during a news conference announcing Brazil's commitment to the Artemis Accords.

"While we prepare for these bold and ambitious missions, it's important that the United States and our partners commit to conducting ourselves responsibly and transparently for the benefit of all," Nelson added. "That is to ensure a safe and sustainable environment for outer space activities."

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Brazil's involvement in the accords comes after, in December 2020, former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine and Marcos Pontes, Brazil's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI) signed a joint statement of intent describing the nation's intention to be the first South American nation to sign the accords. 

"In undertaking this important commitment, Brazil shows the global impact of the Artemis Accords. Your decision to join the community of nations committed to explore space peacefully, safely and transparently demonstrates Brazil's leadership on the international stage," Nelson said. "The Artemis Accords belong to our partners as much as they do to us, and we thank Brazil for its commitment to establishing peaceful norms of behavior in space." 

Email Chelsea Gohd at cgohd@space.com or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined Space.com in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.