Space Law–Part 2

I am a student of international relations….of laws and diplomacy……but could I expand that into the regions we call “Outer Space”?

Our president has proposed a new branch of our military, a Space Force…….personally I do not think it is a good idea from a monetary point but could there be other reasons just as valid?

I wrote about what I thought about this idea from a legal point of view……

Scientists have considered setting parts of space as “wilderness”..this would preclude the encroachment of humans into the regions of the unknown….

The resources of the solar system only seem infinite. They’re not, say scientists who have proposed declaring more than 85% of the solar system “space wilderness,” safe from human development. The primary goal, the Guardian reports, is to keep us from using up all the resources within our reach. That runs counter to mining companies’ argument that taking minerals from other planets would preserve Earth’s environment, per the BBC. “Once you’ve exploited the solar system, there’s nowhere left to go,” said Martin Elvis, a senior astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts. Elvis and British philosopher Tony Milligan say that opening one-eighth of the solar system to mining is less restrictive than it sounds; one-eighth of the asteroid belt’s iron could supply Earth for centuries, their report estimates.

Space mining companies have their sights set on iron and precious metals in asteroids, as well as minerals and water on the moon, per the Guardian. The European Space Agency is planning a village on the moon. Deciding which areas to protect is difficult, Elvis and Milligan write in Acta Astronautica, which is among the practical and ethical issues that they point out would have to be settled. Mining missions could begin within 10 years, Elvis says. “Once it starts and somebody makes an enormous profit, there will be the equivalent of a gold rush,” he says. “We need to take it seriously.”

There has been interests shown in mining in space in one form or another…..

The World Economic Forum sees a problem with a space “gold rush”……

The US president, Donald Trump, has stuck to his plan to send humans back to the moon in the next five years, recently giving the project a US$1.6 billion shot in the arm. Whether he succeeds or not, the first successful landing on the lunar far side by China, the European Space Agency’s recent “lunar village” concept and a myriad of private companies all gearing up for commercial human spaceflight indicate that a human return to the moon may be about to begin in earnest.

But is it a good idea? A new study suggests that, to avoid material exhaustion of the solar system, humans ought to limit ourselves to developing just one-eighth of the available resources. As we may be witnessing the start of a new lunar gold rush of sorts, this new proposal may be put to the test sooner than we think – and the moon will serve as an early test bed.

There is a treaty for space…it may be little known but it is still in place….let me help you grasp this…..

The Outer Space Treaty was considered by the Legal Subcommittee in 1966 and agreement was reached in the General Assembly in the same year ( resolution 2222 (XXI)). The Treaty was largely based on the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, which had been adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 1962 (XVIII) in 1963, but added a few new provisions. The Treaty was opened for signature by the three depository Governments (the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America) in January 1967, and it entered into force in October 1967. The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law, including the following principles:

  • the exploration and use of outer space shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and shall be the province of all mankind;
  • outer space shall be free for exploration and use by all States;
  • outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means;
  • States shall not place nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies or station them in outer space in any other manner;
  • the Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used exclusively for peaceful purposes;
  • astronauts shall be regarded as the envoys of mankind;
  • States shall be responsible for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities;
  • States shall be liable for damage caused by their space objects; and
  • States shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies.

But this could be a moot point sense Trump has backed out of every treaty the US has signed (an overstatement but you get the point)

Space is NOT a domain exclusively for the US and his new Space Force.  Time for this treaty to see the light of day yet again…..or for the world to design and sign a new one.

12 thoughts on “Space Law–Part 2

  1. I doubt any country is ever going to stick to any ‘Space Laws’. With so few countries involved in any extensive space travel, I expect they will make up new ‘laws’ as they go along.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. Israel has joined the crowded rush…..India, China, Russia, even Europe…..all will be trying to out do the next and in the process make trillions…..that is why we need laws and those that will defend those laws. chuq

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