Society for Popular Astronomy

Is the Moon up for grabs?
Page 1 of 1

Author:  brian livesey [ Wed Jan 23, 2019 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Is the Moon up for grabs?

It's been said that treaties are made to be broken. The UN Outer Space Treaty was signed in 1967 by countries that included the US, the Soviet Union and the UK. The Treaty stipulated that "Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means". There's an irony here when we recall that it was the US flag, not the emblem of the UN, that was unfurled on the Moon in 1969: "We came for all mankind" was the astronauts' motto.
Joanne Wheeler, director of Alden Advisers, a space specialist company, said that the Outer Space Treaty is "the Magna Carta of space". She added that planting a flag on the Moon, as Armstrong and his successors did, is "meaningless", as it doesn't confer any "binding rights" to individuals, companies or countries, she adds.
In 1979 the UN produced a "Moon Agreement" ( Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies ). This document stipulated that the Moon and other space bodies must be used for peaceful purposes, and that the UN must be told if anyone is planning a base. The agreement also said that "the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind", and that an international body should be set up "to govern the exploitation of such resources when such exploitation is about to become feasible".
A problem with the Moon Agreement is that only 11 countries have ratified it, including France and India. The biggest players in space, including the US, Russia and China have not. Neither has the UK. Mrs.Wheeler says that it's "not so easy" to enforce the rules outlined in the treaties.
Prof Joanne Irene Gabrynowicz, a former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Space Law, confers that international agreements offer "no guarantees". Enforcement "is a complex mixture of politics, economics and public opinion" she adds. In recent years, the space treaties have come under increasing pressure.
In 2015, the US passed the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act.. It recognised the right of US citizens to own any resources that they might mine from asteroids. The Act doesn't apply to the Moon, but it could, in principle, be extended to include Lunar resources.
Eric Anderson, co-founder of the exploration company Planetary Resources, described the Act as the "single greatest recognition of property rights in history". In 2017, Luxembourg passed its own act, providing the same right of ownership to space resources.
Helen Ntabeni, a lawyer at Naledi Space Law and Policy, said: "Clearly mining, whether with the intention of returning materials to Earth or to store and manufacture them on the Moon, is the very opposite of not doing any harm." She adds that it could be argued that the US and Luxembourg have "bullied" their way out of the Outer Space Treaty's stipulations. "I'm quite sceptical that the high moral notions of the world exploring space together as equal nations will be preserved" she said.

Author:  David Frydman [ Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the Moon up for grabs?

Hi Brian.
I supported and wrote extensively in the press on the Space Studies Institute plans for building space cities of 100,000 people each. In the 1970s.
Prof Gerard O'Neill was the founder.

This required the use of Space Shuttles, I think about 40, and electromagnetic slings built on the Moon to fling material into a Lagrangian? orbit, where the cities would be built.
The cities were encased in 6 ft cladding to prevent radiation damage.
There is a recent Sci Fi film that uses exact copies Prof. O'Neill's cities. (Elysium 2013 Matt Damon). See Prof O'Neill's book.

Members of the public avoided me, because they thought, incorrectly, that I was seeking people to live in these cities.

Oh, how stupid I was.

In fact we have one Space City, i.e, the ISS holding maybe 6 people in low Earth orbit costing billions.

There was no regard to any international Moon treaties.
There was also no regard to damage to the Earth, Moon or Space.

If these cities had been built, I think that humans would have quickly gone to war and destroyed them, either civil war or war between the cities.


Author:  brian livesey [ Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the Moon up for grabs?

Thanks David. It reminds me of the Dan Dare comics I used to read. :wink:

Author:  David Frydman [ Wed Jan 23, 2019 9:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the Moon up for grabs?

I wish I'd kept issue one of the Eagle comic.


I suppose people avoided me as they may have thought Impressment or Press Gangs had returned from centuries past.
The Royal Navy used this to get 'volunteers' often by force and drag them off to man their ships.

I wonder if 100,000 people would have actually gone freely to live in a Space City.

Author:  Brian [ Thu Jan 24, 2019 7:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Is the Moon up for grabs?

Without "Interstellar Policemen" on hand, I forsee only a free-for-all.

Where are the Aliens when we need them? :lol:

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group