AGREEMENT GOVERNING THE ACTIVITIES OF STATES ON THE MOON
AND OTHER CELESTIAL BODIES (1979)
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 11 July 1984
The States Parties to this Agreement,
Noting the achievements of States in the exploration and use of the moon
and other celestial bodies,
Recognizing that the moon, as a natural satellite of the earth, has an
important role to play in the exploration of outer space,
Determined to promote on the basis of equality the further development of
co-operation among States in the exploration and use of the moon and
other celestial bodies,
Desiring to prevent the moon from becoming an area of international
Bearing in mind the benefits which may be derived from the exploitation
of the natural resources of the moon and other celestial bodies,
Recalling the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in
the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies, the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return
of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, the
Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects,
and the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space,
Taking into account the need to define and develop the provisions of
these international instruments in relation to the moon and other
celestial bodies, having regard to further progress in the exploration
and use of outer space,
Have agreed on the following:
1. The provisions of this Agreement relating to the moon shall also apply
to other celestial bodies within the solar system, other than the earth,
except in so far as specific legal norms enter into force with respect to
any of these celestial bodies.
2. For the purposes of this Agreement reference to the moon shall include
orbits around or other trajectories to or around it.
3. This Agreement does not apply to extraterrestrial materials which
reach the surface of the earth by natural means.
All activities on the moon, including its exploration and use, shall be
carried out in accordance with international law, in particular the
Charter of the United Nations, and taking into account the Declaration on
Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and
Co-operation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United
Nations, adopted by the General Assembly on 24 October 1970, in the
interests of maintaining international peace and security and promoting
international co-operation and mutual understanding, and with due regard
to the corresponding interests of all other States Parties.
1. The moon shall be used by all States Parties exclusively for peaceful
2. Any threat or use of force or any other hostile act or threat of
hostile act on the moon is prohibited. It is likewise prohibited to use
the moon in order to commit any such 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.
3. 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
4. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications,
the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military manoeuvres
on the moon shall be forbidden. The use of military personnel for
scientific research or for any other peaceful purposes shall not be
prohibited. The use of any equipment or facility necessary for peaceful
exploration and use of the moon shall also not be prohibited.
1. The exploration and use of the moon shall be the province of all
mankind and shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of
all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific
development. Due regard shall be paid to the interests of present and
future generations as well as to the need to promote higher standards of
living and conditions of economic and social progress and development in
accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.
2. States Parties shall be guided by the principle of co-operation and
mutual assistance in all their activities concerning the exploration and
use of the moon. International co-operation in pursuance of this
Agreement should be as wide as possible and may take place on a
multilateral basis, on a bilateral basis or through international
1. States Parties shall inform the Secretary-General of the United
Nations 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 shall 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 thirty days, information on
conduct of the mission, including any scientific results, shall be given
periodically at thirty days' intervals. For missions lasting more than
six months, only significant additions to such information need be
2. If a State Party becomes aware that another State Party plans to
operate simultaneously in the same area of or in the same orbit around or
trajectory to or around the moon, it shall promptly inform the other
State of the timing of and plans for its own operations.
3. In carrying out activities under this Agreement, States Parties shall
promptly inform the Secretary-General, as well as the public and the
international scientific community, of any phenomena they discover in
outer space, including the moon, which could endanger human life or
health, as well as of any indication of organic life.
1. There shall be freedom of scientific investigation on the moon by all
States Parties without discrimination of any kind, on the basis of
equality and in accordance with international law.
2. In carrying out scientific investigations and in furtherance of the
provisions of this Agreement, the States Parties shall have the right to
collect on and remove from the moon samples of its mineral and other
substances. Such samples shall remain at the disposal of those States
Parties which caused them to be collected and may be used by them for
scientific purposes. States Parties shall have regard to the desirability
of making a portion of such samples available to other interested States
Parties and the international scientific community for scientific
investigation. States Parties may in the course of scientific
investigations also use mineral and other substances of the moon in
quantities appropriate for the support of their missions.
3. States Parties agree on the desirability of exchanging scientific and
other personnel on expeditions to or installations on the moon to the
greatest extent feasible and practicable.
1. In exploring and using the moon, States Parties shall take measures to
prevent the disruption of the existing balance of its environment whether
by introducing adverse changes in that environment, by its harmful
contamination through the introduction of extra-environmental matter or
otherwise. States Parties shall also take measures to avoid harmfully
affecting the environment of the earth through the introduction of
extraterrestrial matter or otherwise.
2. States Parties shall inform the Secretary-General of the United
Nations of the measures being adopted by them in accordance with
paragraph 1 of this article and shall also, to the maximum extent
feasible, notify him in advance of all placements by them of radio-active
materials on the moon and of the purposes of such placements.
3. States Parties shall report to other States Parties and to the
Secretary-General concerning areas of the moon having special scientific
interest in order that, without prejudice to the rights of other States
Parties, consideration may be given to the designation of such areas as
international scientific preserves for which special protective
arrangements are to be agreed upon in consultation with the competent
bodies of the United Nations.
1. States Parties may pursue their activities in the exploration and use
of the moon anywhere on or below its surface, subject to the provisions
of this Agreement.
2. For these purposes States Parties may, in particular:
(a) Land their space objects on the moon and launch them from the moon;
(b) Place their personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities,
stations and installations anywhere on or below the surface of the
Personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and
installations may move or be moved freely over or below the surface of
3. Activities of States Parties in accordance with paragraphs 1 and 2 of
this article shall not interfere with the activities of other States
Parties on the moon. Where such interference may occur, the States
Parties concerned shall undertake consultations in accordance with
article 15, paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Agreement.
1. States Parties may establish manned and unmanned stations on the moon.
A State Party establishing a station shall use only that area which is
required for the needs of the station and shall immediately inform the
Secretary-General of the United Nations of the location and purposes of
that station. Subsequently, at annual intervals that State shall likewise
inform the Secretary-General whether the station continues in use and
whether its purposes have changed.
2. Stations shall be installed in such a manner that they do not impede
the free access to all areas of the moon by personnel, vehicles and
equipment of other States Parties conducting activities on the moon in
accordance with the provisions of this Agreement or of article I of the
Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the
Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
1. States Parties shall adopt all practicable measures to safeguard the
life and health of persons on the moon. For this purpose they shall
regard any person on the moon as an astronaut within the meaning of
article V of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States
in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies and as part of the personnel of a spacecraft within the
meaning of the Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of
Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
2. States Parties shall offer shelter in their stations, installations,
vehicles and other facilities to persons in distress on the moon.
1. The moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind,
which finds its expression in the provisions of this Agreement and in
particular in paragraph 5 or this article.
2. The moon is not subject to national appropriation by any claim of
sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.
3. Neither the surface nor the subsurface of the moon, nor any part
thereof or natural resources in place, shall become 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. The foregoing provisions are without
prejudice to the international r,gime referred to in paragraph 5 of this
4. States Parties have the right to exploration and use of the moon
without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in
accordance with international law and the terms of this Agreement.
5. States Parties to this Agreement hereby undertake to establish an
international r,gime, including appropriate procedures, to govern the
exploitation of the natural resources of the moon as such exploitation is
about to become feasible. This provision shall be implemented in
accordance with article 18 of this Agreement.
6. In order to facilitate the establishment of the international r,gime
referred to in paragraph 5 of this article, States Parties shall inform
the Secretary-General of the United Nations as well as the public and the
international scientific community, to the greatest extent feasible and
practicable, of any natural resources they may discover on the moon.
7. The main purposes of the international r,gime to be established shall
(a) The orderly and safe development of the natural resources of the
(b) The rational management of those resources;
(c) The expansion of opportunities in the use of those resources;
(d) An equitable sharing by all States Parties in the benefits derived
from those resources, whereby the interests and needs of the
developing countries, as well as the efforts of those countries
which have contributed either directly or indirectly to the
exploration of the moon, shall be given special consideration.
8. All the activities with respect to the natural resources of the moon
shall be carried out in a manner compatible with the purposes specified
in paragraph 7 of this article and the provisions of article 6, paragraph
2, of this Agreement.
1. States Parties shall retain jurisdiction and control over their
personnel, vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations on
the moon. The ownership of space vehicles, equipment, facilities,
stations and installations shall not be affected by their presence on the
2. Vehicles, installations and equipment or their component parts found
in places other than their intended location shall be dealt with in
accordance with article 5 of the Agreement on Rescue of Astronauts, the
Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space.
3. In the event of an emergency involving a threat to human life, States
Parties may use the equipment, vehicles, installations, facilities or
supplies of other States Parties on the moon. Prompt notification of such
use shall be made to the Secretary-General of the United Nations or the
State Party concerned.
A State Party which learns of the crash landing, forced landing or other
unintended landing on the moon of a space object, or its component parts,
that were not launched by it, shall promptly inform the launching State
Party and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
1. States Parties to this Agreement shall bear international
responsibility for national activities on the moon, whether such
activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental
entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in
conformity with the provisions set forth in this Agreement. States
Parties shall ensure that non-governmental entities under their
jurisdiction shall engage in activities on the moon only under the
authority and continuing supervision of the appropriate State Party.
2. States Parties recognize that detailed arrangements concerning
liability for damage caused on the moon, in addition to the provisions of
the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the
Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other
Celestial Bodies and the Convention on International Liability for Damage
Caused by Space Objects, may become necessary as a result of more
extensive activities on the moon. Any such arrangements shall be
elaborated in accordance with the procedure provided for in article 18 of
1. 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, in order that appropriate consultations may be held
and that maximum precautions may be taken to assure safety and to avoid
interference with normal operations in the facility to be visited. In
pursuance of this article, 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 Charter.
2. A State Party which has reason to believe that another State Party is
not fulfilling the obligations incumbent upon it pursuant to this
Agreement or that another State Party is interfering with the rights
which the former State 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 which
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 Secretary-General of
the United Nations shall be informed of the results of the consultations
and shall transmit the information received to all States Parties
3. If the consultations do not lead to a mutually acceptable settlement
which has due regard for the rights and interests of all States Parties,
the parties concerned shall take all measures to settle the dispute by
other peaceful means of their choice appropriate to the circumstances and
the nature of the dispute. If difficulties arise in connexion with the
opening of consultations or if consultations do not lead to a mutually
acceptable settlement, any State Party may seek the assistance of the
Secretary-General, without seeking the consent of any other State Party
concerned, in order to resolve the controversy. A State Party which does
not maintain diplomatic relations with another State Party concerned
shall participate in such consultations, at its choice, either itself or
through another State Party or the Secretary-General as intermediary.
With the exception of articles 17 to 21, references in this Agreement to
States shall be deemed to apply to any international intergovernmental
organization which conducts space activities if the organization declares
its acceptance of the rights and obligations provided for in this
Agreement and if a majority of the States members of the organization are
States Parties to this Agreement and to the Treaty on Principles
Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer
Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. States members of
any such organization which are States Parties to this Agreement shall
take all appropriate steps to ensure that the organization makes a
declaration in accordance with the foregoing.
Any State Party to this Agreement may propose amendments to the
Agreement. Amendments shall enter into force for each State Party to the
Agreement accepting the amendments upon their acceptance by a majority of
the States Parties to the Agreement and thereafter for each remaining
State Party to the Agreement on the date of acceptance by it.
Ten years after the entry into force of this Agreement, the question of
the review of the Agreement shall be included in the provisional agenda
of the General Assembly of the United Nations in order to consider, in
the light of past application of the Agreement, whether it requires
revision. However, at any time after the Agreement has been in force for
five years, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, as depository,
shall, at the request of one third of the States Parties to the Agreement
and with the concurrence of the majority of the States Parties, convene a
conference of the States Parties to review this Agreement. A review
conference shall also consider the question of the implementation of the
provisions of article 11, paragraph 5, on the basis of the principle
referred to in paragraph 1 of that article and taking into account in
particular any relevant technological developments.
1. This Agreement shall be open for signature by all States at United
Nations Headquarters in New York.
2. This Agreement shall be subject to ratification by signatory States.
Any State which does not sign this Agreement before its entry into force
in accordance with paragraph 3 of this article may accede to it at any
time. Instruments of ratification or accession shall be deposited with
the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
3. This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following
the date of deposit of the fifth instrument of ratification.
4. For each State depositing its instrument of ratification or accession
after the entry into force of this Agreement, it shall enter into force
on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of any such
5. The Secretary-General shall promptly inform all signatory and acceding
States of the date of each signature, the date of deposit of each
instrument of ratification or accession to this Agreement, the date of
its entry into force and other notices.
Any State Party to this Agreement may give notice of its withdrawal from
the Agreement one year after its entry into force by written notification
to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Such withdrawal shall
take effect one year from the date of receipt of this notification.
The original of this Agreement, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English,
French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be
deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who shall
send certified copies thereof to all signatory and acceding States.
In witness whereof the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto by their
respective Governments, have signed this Agreement, opened for signature
at New York on December 18, 1979.
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