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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: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:39PM (7 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:39PM (#1002853) Journal

    What matters far more than rules is the ability to project force

    And I noted a couple of ways that could be done economically.

  • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:19PM (6 children)

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:19PM (#1002940)

    You already have the situation that corporations write laws that benefit themselves, then pay your elected representatives to enact them.

    If space mining looks like being fantastically profitable, they'll be making sure those profits go to the right people.

    It is so much cheaper to put the costs of enforcing that stuff onto taxpayers. Having an army is expensive, that is why the United Fruit Company (for example) tended to use the United States Marines when they needed to suppress any slave revolts.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:51PM (5 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:51PM (#1002951) Journal

      You already have the situation that corporations write laws that benefit themselves, then pay your elected representatives to enact them.

      Sounds like something that could be a problem, but it doesn't change the fundamental dynamic. They still have an Earth-side presence and all the big money would be trading with Earth.

      • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:59PM (4 children)

        by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:59PM (#1002956)

        True, and as they have the ability to write their own rules they will be able to ensure anything they want to do is legal, using the threat of the US military if necessary.

        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 04 2020, @11:09AM (3 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 04 2020, @11:09AM (#1003126) Journal
          Except, of course, when they can't do that because of other interests overriding them.
          • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday June 04 2020, @09:06PM (2 children)

            by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 04 2020, @09:06PM (#1003355)

            Like what other interests? The voters? Don't make me laugh.

            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 04 2020, @10:31PM (1 child)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 04 2020, @10:31PM (#1003396) Journal
              You just mentioned one such party. Yes, the voters. You also mentioned the US military. That's another. A third is other corporations.
              • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday June 04 2020, @10:59PM

                by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 04 2020, @10:59PM (#1003419)

                Only two of those interests are going to have any say in what happens, and the other two work hand in glove.