The 1979 United Nations Moon Treaty
left for legal interpretation which strengthens any and all
claim and ownership to the Land On The Moon.
Please note: To best understand
all the details, facts and explanations of the The Outer Space
Treaty of 1967, please view our What
is the Law? section first.
Agreement Governing the Activities of States on
the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the importance of international cooperation
in the field of the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space, including
the moon and other celestial bodies, and of promoting the rule of law
in this field of human endeavour,
Recalling its resolution 27779 (XXVI) of 29 November
1971, in which it requested the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space and its Legal Sub-Committee to consider the question of the elaboration
of a draft international treaty concerning the moon, as well as its resolutions
2915 (XXVII) of 9 November 1972, 3182 (XXVIII) of 18 December 1973, 3234
(XXIX) of 12 November 1974, 3388 (XXX) of 18 November 1975, 31/8 of 8
November 1976, 32/196 A of 20 December 1977 and 33/16 of 10 November 1978,
in which it, inter alia, encouraged the elaboration of the draft treaty
relating to the moon,
Recalling, in particular, that in resolution 33/16 it
endorsed the recommendation of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space that the Legal Sub-Committee at its eighteenth session should continue
as a matter of priority its efforts to complete the draft treaty relating
to the moon,
Having considered the relevant part of the report of
the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, in particular paragraphs
62, 63 and 65,
Noting with satisfaction that the Committee on the Peaceful
Uses of Outer Space, on the basis of the deliberations and recommendations
of the Legal Sub-Committee, has completed the text of the draft Agreement
Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,
Having considered the text of the draft Agreement Governing
the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies,
1. Commends the Agreement Governing the Activities of States the text
of which is annexed to the present resolution;
2. Requests the Secretary-General to open the Agreement for signature
and ratification at the earliest possible date;
3. Expresses its hope for the widest possible adherence to this Agreement.
89th plenary meeting, 5 December 1979
Annex Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other
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
Bearing in mind the benefits which may be derived from
the exploitation of the natural resources of the moon and other celestial
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
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, installation 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 intergovernmental organizations.
1. State 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 reported thereafter.
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 moon.
Personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installations
may move or be moved freely over or below the surface of the moon.
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 Celestial Bodies.
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 of 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 regime referred
to in paragraph 5 of this article.
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
regime, 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 regime
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 regime to be established shall
(a) The orderly and safe development of the natural resources of the moon;
(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 moon.
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
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 this Agreement.
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 concerned.
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 connection 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 provisions of this article.
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 depositary, 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 instrument.
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 the fifth day of December one thousand nine hundred and