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posted by martyb on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the Keep-your-hands-off-of-my-stash dept.

Could corporations control territory in space? Under new US rules, it might be possible:

First, the Artemis Accords go beyond simply rejecting the unpopular 1979 Moon Agreement, which declared lunar resources to be the "common heritage of mankind" and committed parties to establish an international regime to oversee space mining. Only 18 countries have signed the treaty.

In its place, the accords envisage a US-centric framework of bilateral agreements in which "partner nations" agree to follow US-drafted rules.

Second, the accords introduce the concept of "safety zones" around lunar operations.

Although territorial claims in space are prohibited under international law, these safety zones would seek to protect commercial and scientific sites from inadvertent collisions and other forms of "harmful interference". What kinds of conduct could count as harmful interference remains to be determined.

Previously:
(2020-06-02) Third European Service Module for Artemis Mission to Land Astronauts on the Moon
(2020-05-16) NASA Wants Partner Nations to Agree to "Artemis Accords" for Lunar Exploration
(2020-03-12) CoronaVirus (SARS-CoV-2) Roundup 2020-03-12
(2018-07-22) Who Owns The Moon? A Space Lawyer Answers
(2018-03-07) China to Recruit Civilian Astronauts, Partner With Russia on Upcoming Missions
(2018-01-09) Russia Assembles Engineering Group for Lunar Activities and the Deep Space Gateway
(2017-10-18) Bigelow and ULA to Put Inflatable Module in Orbit Around the Moon by 2022
(2015-11-26) Who Owns Space? USA's Asteroid-Mining Act is Dangerous and Potentially Illegal

Robert Heinlein explored the notion in a novel. Does the future of space exploration lie with governments or corporations?


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @04:51PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @04:51PM (#1002813)

    There's one really big space-side lever to potentially ensure that no one in space needs to give much of a damn about what an Earth-side government says: it's really easy to drop a very big rock on any spot on the planet Earth.

    Once enough people get out into space and they're living there on a permanent basis, they'll make their own rules between themselves. Probably after a lot of blood is spilled. That's what humans do.

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:13PM (2 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:13PM (#1002832) Journal

    There's one really big space-side lever to potentially ensure that no one in space needs to give much of a damn about what an Earth-side government says: it's really easy to drop a very big rock on any spot on the planet Earth.

    It also has a huge lag. The nuclear powers on Earth can wipe out countries inside of two hours with nukes. That asteroid will take years to decades, plenty of time for an Earth power to respond and thwart the attack. Even a Heinlein-style railgun shooting rocks from the Moon will leave a day or more of warning.

    And it's not going to do a thing to space-side infrastructure which could easily dodge that stuff and retaliate.

    • (Score: 2) by looorg on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:25PM (1 child)

      by looorg (578) on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:25PM (#1002840)

      It's a bit hard for earth to dodge tho. It would either have to be intercepted somehow, the track record for such things is currently not fantastic, or some kind of mass-evacuation of/from a calculated impact zone.

      That said I don't think there will be any Heinlein-style Mars (or Klendathu) bombardments of Earth anytime soon. It's probably more interesting what will happen with small research/mining bases and such -- what happens in space, stays in space unless there is some really atrocious things that just can't be denied or overlooked and they still have a presence on Earth or whatever we consider out jurisdiction will be.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:37PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:37PM (#1002851) Journal

        It's a bit hard for earth to dodge tho.

        It was moved once. It can be moved again. As to space infrastructure dodging lunar attacks, I forgot about clouds of dirt moving at orbital velocities. That's much harder to dodge.

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Thursday June 04 2020, @04:09PM

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 04 2020, @04:09PM (#1003266) Journal

    I don't think it's in the Moon's interests to fight with Earth. You can't get a decent bagel anywhere on the Moon.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2) by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us on Friday June 05 2020, @09:46PM

    by All Your Lawn Are Belong To Us (6553) on Friday June 05 2020, @09:46PM (#1003973) Journal

    May well be. But any space-borne (or other-solar-system-body-borne) culture would also have to be completely self-sufficient. Redundancies for the redundancies for the redundancies. Yes, Moon is a Harsh Mistress and all... but Mike only gave 1 in 7 odds of the revolution succeeding and even then success meant they came to better terms with Earth for resupply. Plus they had launched all their remaining canisters... what if nobody had recognized Luna in spite of the bombing? They'd die a lot more quickly than the Earth would.

    How would they with inevitable minor outgasses of oxygen alone? Not saying they wouldn't, Fallen Angels had the characters skim the atmosphere to "steal" replenishment oxygen. Being at the top of the gravity well matters little if you're hypoxic.

    --
    Keep everyone ignorant of the magical world! KEEP AMERICA OBLIVIATE!