Artemis and the Moon: An international law conundrum

18 March 2021


Thursday, 18 March 2021

5:30 pm – 6:30 pm AEDT

The Centre for International and Public Law at the ANU College of Law is proud to host this panel discussion as a hybrid event.

Australia finds itself in a challenging position with respect to its international law obligations under the 1979 Moon Agreement, and its recent signing of the bi-lateral Artemis Accords with NASA in October 2020. As one of the original eight States to sign the Artemis Accords, the Australian space sector is excited to be partnering with NASA on its plan to return astronauts to the Moon for the first time in four decades, and to develop new technologies for long-term human habitation in space and resource extraction on the Moon. However, as one of only 18 signatories to the Moon Agreement, Australia is in a unique position, and faces an international law conundrum, which has not yet been explicitly solved. 

The Moon Agreement states that the Moon is the “common heritage” of all humankind, and obliges States Party to establish an international regulatory regime for resource extraction “as such exploitation is about to become feasible”. However, the Artemis Accords state that all parties agree that resource extraction “can and shall take place” and is in accordance with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty - in reference to Article III of that treaty which prohibits appropriation in outer space. Can both of these obligations can be read in harmony, and what other questions remain?

This panel will discuss the context of the core space treaties, the new position Australia is in as an Artemis Accords partner, and will consider what might be learned from other areas beyond national jurisdiction where resource extraction has led to difficult international law questions, such as the Antarctic and the deep-sea bed.

This event will be delivered in a hybrid format - both in-person and virtually via Zoom webinar. Registration is required. Please see the 'register' tab above.

Chair: Professor Donald R. Rothwell, FAAL, ANU College of Law

Speakers/Space Law Experts: 

Dr Cassandra Steer, Senior Lecturer, ANU College of Law

Professor Melissa de Zwart, Dean, Adelaide Law School


This event will be delivered in a hybrid format- both in-person and virtually via Zoom webinar.

For in-person and online viewing, please register here. Registration is required.



Via ZOOM and in-person attendance at ANU College of Law Moot Courts, Law Building #6, ANU Acton Campus.

Registration is required.