I have a question.
Who Owns Space?
We are on the cusp of another space race - this time we are racing other countries and, for the first time, corporations to get to low Earth orbit, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt, Mars, and beyond. How will this work? If someone launches a rocket with a crew to the Moon or an asteroid, is it "first come, first served"? Does each crew or colony get a fixed amount of territory to develop on or below that colony? Who would even decide that?There is an existing treaty that governs the "peaceful" exploration of space - (from Wikipedia) the Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. It states that treaty signees will:
- not use nuclear weapons in space,
- peacefully explore space, and
- forbid any nation to claim ownership of any celestial body.
Obviously, the 109 current nations that have signed this must abide by these rules (as much as any treaty signees follow the rules of that treaty), but what about corporations. Here's a list of corporations with space exploration goals - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies#Space-based_economy - if you skim that list you can see that their goals are diverse and ambitious. Since they are not nations and not signees, the current Outer Space Treaty does not limit their activities.With that in mind, I would like you to design a new amendment to the treaty that addresses corporate exploration and settlement. In your post I would like you to do the following:
- Reasonable limits - how will you give explorers a decent chunk of that celestial body but not limit others from exploring it? For instance, if you settle into a lunar crater, do you get a fixed number of square miles per colony?
- Settlement limits - Does the colony have to be settled by a certain number of people permanently? What if it is a robotic station? If there are no human settlers for a period of time, can another explorer access some or all of that area?
- Enforcement - how will you stop exploration that violates the treaty or by corporations that don't sign the treaty (for whatever reason)?
The best parallel I can imagine for this is settling the West after the Civil War using the Homestead Act of 1860 to break up territory. Except in this case, corporations are not global citizens with membership in an existing group. Maybe you need to create one.Same format as usual - 100 words for initial post by the halfway point of the unit and 2 replies of 50 words by the unit's end.
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