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Colonizing the moon: The Legal Challenges

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A brief overview of the legal challenges of building a city on the moon, for secondary school students at Metaplaneta's Lunar City Ideathon

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Colonizing the moon: The Legal Challenges

  1. 1. Colonizing the Moon: The Legal Challenges Thomas Cheney PhD candidate, Sunderland University, Sunderland UK Member, SGAC Space Law and Policy Project Group Image: NASA
  2. 2. Introduction to Space Law Image: NASA Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  3. 3. Intro to Space Law • The Space Treaties: –Outer Space Treaty –Rescue Agreement –Liability Convention –Registration Convention –Moon Agreement Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  4. 4. Outer Space Treaty 1967 -‘Magna Carta’ or the ‘Constitution’ of space -Ratified by 103 states and signed by a further 25 -Considered to have become customary international law -Free access and use of space for all -National Appropriation is prohibited -States are responsible for their activities or those of their citizens -No WMDs in space -All of International Law applies Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  5. 5. Moon Agreement 1979 • Treaty in Force • Generally considered ‘failed treaty’ • 16 states have ratified, 4 have signed • Contains ‘common heritage of mankind’ provision • Art 11 bans ownership of moon or natural resources in place • Calls for an international regime to govern resource extraction, like the International Seabed Authority Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  6. 6. Legal Challenges of Lunar Settlement and Colonization Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015Image: ESA
  7. 7. Who Owns the Moon? • Short answer: no one and everyone! • Art II OST bans national appropriation • Space is part of the ‘global commons’ • Freedom of use and exploration for all • Free access to all areas of celestial bodies • Would own base/habitat itself but not land it sits on Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  8. 8. Whose Laws Apply? • States retain jurisdiction over ‘space objects’ • Laws of owner would apply within • Laws might not extend beyond base • May need to be stipulated in ticket/contract Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  9. 9. International Co-operation • An international base could have multiple jurisdictions • Treaty would be needed • International Space Station model/example Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015Image: NASA
  10. 10. Property Rights • Property rights without sovereignty? • Extracted materials but not land? • What about my IPod? Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  11. 11. Environment and Heritage Protection • Environmental protection is important • Learn the lessons from Earth • How much do we want to change the Moon? • What about the Apollo landing sites? Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015Images: NASA
  12. 12. Enforcement • Lunar Cities will depend on Earth • Companies, suppliers etc., will be based on Earth • States able and required to take enforcement action • Space Police are possible! Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  13. 13. Independence • No mechanism available at the moment • International law evolves as needed • Independence is inevitable • Independence is possible - has happened before, Singapore is no longer British after all! Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015
  14. 14. Thank You For Listening! If you’ve any questions feel free to contact me: Email: Thomcheney@outlook.com Twitter: @thomcheney Thomas Cheney, Sunderland University, 2015Image: NASA
  15. 15. Image Credits • https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasacommons/9458193857/in/album- 72157650639118181 • http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/images/hs-1999-01-a- large_web.jpg • http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2013/01/Multi- dome_base_being_constructed • http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/styles/full_width_feature/pub lic/thumbnails/image/s129e009326.jpg?itok=a3QYMi_h • https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasacommons/7610985594/in/album- 72157634973926806/ • https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasacommons/9457426909/in/album- 72157650733490842/ • http://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/styles/full_width_feature/pub lic/images/297755main_GPN-2001- 000009_full.jpg?itok=qZTIuoYP

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