Colombia, new member country of the Artemis project

The project, led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), aims to put a man and a woman on the moon

NASA/Joel Kowsky  -   NASA's Space Launch System (SLS)

The Vice President of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, signed this morning Colombia's adhesion to the Artemis project. In this way, the Latin American country becomes a member country of the project, also known as Artemis, whose main objective is to strengthen cooperation in the exploration and exploitation of its lunar resources, Mars and other celestial bodies.

Colombia's newly inaugurated membership was made official last Tuesday at a ceremony attended by Marta Lucia Ramírez, NASA Deputy Administrator Pamela Ann Melroy, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Tito Crissien, and Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón. However, Colombia had already ratified the agreement almost a year ago, on 22 July 2021. The final signing of the agreement comes at a time when 200 years of bilateral relations between Colombia and the United States are being commemorated.

The Artemis project, presented by NASA in 2010, ensures that the first woman, who has not yet been selected, will be taken to the Moon on a manned mission before 2024. The agreement establishes cooperation parameters and engagement guidelines for future space exploration and discovery of lunar resources. In addition, the signing of this project serves to reinforce and implement the Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1967 by the United Nations on the basis of international space law. US Vice President Kamala Harris, who also chairs the National Space Council, used a visit to Vandenberg Space Force Base in California last month to highlight the importance of the Artemis project, saying that these agreements "are designed to create a safe and transparent environment for space exploration, science and commercial activities".

The South American country has joined the group of 16 countries that make up the Artemis project. They are joined by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Colombia has become the second South American country to take part in the project, along with Brazil, and the fifth in the Americas, after the United States, Canada and Mexico. 

NASA/Laura Sasaninejad
NASA/Laura Sasaninejad - NASA's Artemis project
The first woman to step on the Moon 

Since the first lunar landings in 1969, only 12 people have set foot on the surface of the moon, none of them women. During the presentation of the mission, Jim Bridestine, NASA's press officer, declared: "Fifty years after the Apollo missions, the new Artemis programme will be responsible for taking the next man and the first woman to the moon". To carry out this project, NASA has estimated a budget of 135 billion dollars, of which the government of Donald Trump authorised a first batch of 1.6 billion in 2017.

Artemis would be the first step in NASA's ambitious aerospace plan, which seeks to revitalise the US space project, to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon and in its orbit, and to lay the foundations for private companies to secure the economy on the Moon. In the second part of the project, the goal would be to send humans to Mars, starting in 2033. NASA has stated that it hopes other countries will join the agreement to ensure that space will be a "safe, peaceful and prosperous" place in the future.

In addition to Mexico, Canada, Colombia and the United States, the other member countries of the Artemis project are: Australia, Bahrain, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Ukraine, Great Britain, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Americas Coordinator: José Antonio Sierra.