Humans Are Already in Exporting Our Environmental Problems into Space

To be clear, The space is not exactly in the Wild West. the 1967 Outer Space Treaty—The Magna Carta of the law of space — lays down the framework and basic principles to guide responsible behavior in space. Negotiated and drafted during the Cold War amid rising political tensions, the binding agreement best addresses concerns at a time when the apocalypse is a much more imminent threat than the waste of space. First, it prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in space. Four other international treaties exclusively dealing with space and related activities follow. This includes Liability Convention of 1972, establishing who should be responsible for damage caused by space objects, and the Moon Agreement of 1979, which tried to curb the commercial exploitation of space resources, such as mining resources to build lunar colonies.

Now, what has now become run-of-the-mill space activities (consider plans to launch constellations of hundreds to tens of thousands of satellites or even ambitious proposals to obtain resources from near-Earth asteroids) viewed by rules devised at a time when such activity was located in the realm of science fiction.

The governing documents surrounding space law are unclear as to the many scenarios that are currently evolving, and the Moon Agreement has too few signatures to be effective. As a result, private space companies can now look at the basic half-century Outer Space Treaty and the four agreements that follow and also interpret them in ways that favor their line, according to Jakhu. For example, asteroid mining efforts are inspired by the argument that, according to the Outer Space Treaty, governments cannot extract natural resources from an asteroid and store them — but private companies can. (At best, the grandfather of space treaties has no clear answer about the legality of mining asteroids.) Since private companies are primarily money-making, “the basic rules of space must be expanded, established, and enforce. ”

Efforts made to address this problem. Regulatory bodies such as the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and experts from the governmental, non-governmental, and commercial space are working together to hash out the building blocks for new management to address existing gaps in the law of space. Due to the turmoil in space activity in recent years, UNOOSA has drafted some widely accepted guidelines for debris reduction and long -term continuity. (The guidelines recommend safe debris reduction, removal methods, and general good behavior, such as advising that all objects in space be registered and tracked and that 90 percent of them be removed from orbit). at the end of their mission.) This — like most efforts to address space law policy gaps — is “soft law,” or a non-binding international instrument without even who is under any legal obligation to comply. However, some countries — such as the United States, China, and India — incorporate rules from international legal principles for space ethics into their national law for licensing activities in space.

Multinational initiatives led by individual countries that manage space, such as the one recently initiated by the US Artemis Accords, signaling an alternative route. Named for NASA’s Moon-bound human-spaceflight program, these are the general guidelines that countries follow in their exploration of the Moon — that is, be peaceful, cooperate, and not leave any trash. However the Agreements have not yet been signed by major US allies and space partners, such as Germany and France. Meanwhile, a concrete path to an international agreement may come soon. In the first week of November, representatives from the UK suggested that the United Nations organizing a working group — the first step in treaty negotiations — to develop new rules of international conduct beyond the Earth.

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