Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mars needs lawyers?

FiveThirtyEight says "escaping Earth’s gravity is way easier than escaping its international legal issues":

(T)he governance of space has always been affected by the governance of Earth. The Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, for instance, was the political driver behind the race for the moon and set the stage for the 1967 Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies — which is still our primary legal document outlining the rules for space.

The 1967 treaty — known as the Outer Space Treaty, for short — was signed by 104 countries and was the document that helped humans create a space environment that’s more “Star Trek” than “Star Wars” — but it primarily addresses individual, independent governments bumping into one another as they go about their separate business, according to von der Dunk and Joanne Gabrynowicz, a retired professor of space law at the University of Mississippi and the editor-in-chief emerita of the Journal of Space Law. The countries with space programs have all signed it, but the document still leaves ambiguity and unanswered questions when it comes to issues such as corporate spaceflight and multinational coalitions.