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#1 2012-02-18 14:55:30

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

I posted this about 4 years ago:

"Discussion on another thread made me want to outline briefly one sort of approach to a Mars mission which might work...

US passes the enabling legislation.

This would allow the creation of a US based "Mars Exploration Consortium".
The consortium would be controlled by a board of investors including US government and its partners. Partners might include private companies, individual donors, and other space nations. For example we might have consortium consisting of:-

US government, India, France, Brazil, Japan, Space X, Bigelow and large scale individual donors (let's say Bill Gates for sake of argument).

The Consortium would be empowered to issue Mars Bonds, back by the US government. These would be $100 bonds entitling the bond holder to land leases and mineral rights shares on Mars. These bonds would mature in 25 years' time and would be backed by the US government.

The mission would be part-financed through these bonds."

I feel we are a lot closer to something like this becoming a reality. I think Musk is just biding his time until his coffers are full and he has developed his cheaper launch system. After all, he says he think he could get us to Mars and back for $5 billion. I see no reason to doubt that figure is possible.

Nowadays I feel it is much more likely that Space X will themselves put the consortium together having got a politically lobby together to make it happen.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2012-02-18 16:00:55

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

I feel that something like that could become the real thing.  Good.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#3 2012-02-18 18:00:16

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,062
Website

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Ahem, there's the minor issue that the US government has no power or authority to issue Martian leases.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#4 2012-02-18 20:44:53

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

So I don't own Mars?

Well the logic is correct.  Nations are not likely to build up a "Territory" which they cannot in any practicle way own.

That is the problem with Mars.  With the Moon, we are getting to the point where a nation could "Own" a facility on the Moon, but of course there is the question of how do you get "Licenced" to extract a resource from the Moon.

For Mars, I think that the granting of an estate with the provision of the requirement that you do certain things to access, occupy and develop it is a good notion.

However, you are most likely correct that politicians world wide have worked to keep their slaves from escaping into space beyond their grasp of control.

However, the planetary culture could be modified to accomodate this type of financing.  It is too early to tell.

I guess the US could issue such bonds, but I am guessing that the ownership rights would be disputed.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#5 2012-02-19 02:46:29

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,062
Website

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

The US has no ability to guarantee such bonds. Another group could legitimately, under international law, set up somewhere that's been prospected by the consortium.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#6 2012-02-19 06:16:30

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

I think we would have to get a lawyer's opinion on whether you could lease land.

On Antarctica - subject to similar laws - no one is suppose to own the land, but clearly some people do occupy land and if you turned up at a base demanding to occupy parrt of it, you would probably be physically restrained.

Perhaps we would have to come up with some new concept e.g. activity zone agreement.  So, maybe in your defined area you are enabled to undertake certainty activities be it housing, mining or whatever for a certain period - a lease in effect.

Another view is that the Outer Space Treaty relates only to earth states. There is nothing in the treaty that prevents the establishment of a self-governing entity of human beings on Mars who can then issue their own licences.

However, I think that in reality the bonds idea is unlikely to feature early on.  Most likely would be the establishment of a base on the Antarctic model I think.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#7 2012-02-19 10:53:09

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,011

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Well this would be a side note on a possible technique, but funny you should mention Antarctica, but then again it is approximately the same process isn't it.

Method to inhabit Antarctica, and perhaps the Polar areas of Mars.

http://www.outerspaceplace.blogspot.com … enses.html
http://www.outerspaceplace.blogspot.com … lense.html
http://www.outerspaceplace.blogspot.com … solar.html
http://www.outerspaceplace.blogspot.com … lense.html


Another%2BIce%2BLense.JPG

As I said a side note. And certainly other mehods of inhabiting Mars are not excluded.

Last edited by Void (2012-02-19 10:55:54)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#8 2012-02-19 12:29:37

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,828

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Lious that discription of a "Mars Exploration Consortium" is not all that far from what MarsDrive has been proposing to do..see topic folder The Mars Consortium and here as well in the yahoo tech group for MarsDrive...Human mission design....
The Mars Consortium Approach
Consortium Conference
Mars Consortium Funding
Earth Space Consortium- where we fit in
Consortium Technology Markets
Consortium and Design Update- Breaking News
Breaking News- Consortium and Progress
Consortium Update
The Mars Consortium 2011
State of The Consortium


But in all situations it comes back to getting the needed funds to carry out any plans....That said Mars Society is also doing what they think is the right way to go as well....

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#9 2012-05-12 04:59:52

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,847

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

In the Antartic treaty the bases themselves are sovereign in that they are owned by the states that placed them. Still they actually dont own the ice or land underneath.

Louis wrote:

On Antarctica - subject to similar laws - no one is suppose to own the land, but clearly some people do occupy land and if you turned up at a base demanding to occupy parrt of it, you would probably be physically restrained.

Similar to Embassies they are foreign soil in anothers country but with one difference it is the building that is owned not the land underneath.

In space all objects launched are considered national territory and so if they land on an object they remain the property of that country just they dont own the land it is sitting on.

We seriously need to sort this legal issue out as the current state of play is that any resource mined not for scientific purposes but for financial gain could and almost certainly would have a claim of it being shared with all countries on this planet. This would not be decided by the security council either but by way of the whole UN.

Last edited by Grypd (2012-05-12 05:00:58)


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#10 2012-05-12 07:53:04

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,828

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

The same rule then would apply to all insitu materials used to make all things that we would need in local useage but would not be covered for export as that is the gray area of which we can not own.

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#11 2012-05-12 15:55:59

Mark Friedenbach
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From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 308

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Not necessarily. There is clear legal president from the Apollo and Luna sample returns that once extracted, such resources become the property of whoever extracted them, and furthermore the legal title can then be transferred or exchanged. Just a few months ago I had the pleasure of seeing three moon rocks encased in resin on display in the Royal Laotian palace. These rocks (in-situ resources) were gifted to the Kingdom of Laos, and are now the property of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

Of course since I expect someone will raise the objection, in all these cases the samples were brought back to Earth. But there's nothing in the law that makes that a necessary condition--presumably those rocks became U.S. government property as soon as the astronauts picked them up off the surface, or at least as soon as they got them back to the LEM (the nearest few square feet of sovereign U.S. territory).

Last edited by Mark Friedenbach (2012-05-12 15:57:48)

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#12 2012-05-12 16:18:46

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,847

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

You are correct there is a clear legal precedent it is that samples were returned as Scientific samples only and that was the betterment of all mankind.

And of course they were in the possesion of a goverment not a private agency.

The treaties are specific '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'

So using it for science to benefit mankind big tick
Using it for wealth generation no chance.

Certainly under the current treaties we certainly need a few changes.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#13 2012-05-13 06:24:57

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Grypd wrote:

You are correct there is a clear legal precedent it is that samples were returned as Scientific samples only and that was the betterment of all mankind.

And of course they were in the possesion of a goverment not a private agency.

The treaties are specific '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'

So using it for science to benefit mankind big tick
Using it for wealth generation no chance.

Certainly under the current treaties we certainly need a few changes.

Why is "science" the only way of bettering mankind? Commerce and exploitation of raw materials has a good claim to bettering mankind as well.

All that the passage you quote precludes is national appropriation.  As long as the USA or any other country is not claiming it for itself by those means, then the treaty has not been violated.

None of that precludes in my view licensing of land for specific purposes, or indeed a declaration of independence by the occupants of a celestial body.  If licensing were not allowed then you would have the absurdity that anyone could come along and say ride a 3 tonne rover over someone else's photovoltaic facility. Clearly there must be allowance made for organisaiton of land use.

So, I see no problem with very long leases of land for instance.

The treaty allows for private agencies to operate in space - it's just that a government has to take responsibility for their actions.  But it would not be difficult for a Consortium to find the equivalent of a flag of convenience.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#14 2012-05-13 15:47:28

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,847

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Its all to do with political events down here on Earth and the so called Common heritage of mankind.

It basically comes down to no one can actually own outer space as it is owned by everyone.

louis wrote:

None of that precludes in my view licensing of land for specific purposes, or indeed a declaration of independence by the occupants of a celestial body.  If licensing were not allowed then you would have the absurdity that anyone could come along and say ride a 3 tonne rover over someone else's photovoltaic facility. Clearly there must be allowance made for organisaiton of land use.

So, I see no problem with very long leases of land for instance.

Actually there is great laws all wrapped up in the outer space treaty about how to deal with damaging another countries property in space. There is though no organisation for land use everyone and no one owns it there fore no land leases possible.

The Moon treaty that came out had tried to solve some of those issues but it was and unfortunatly remains a very unsuitable treaty for anyone that wants to move mankind off this rock. The basic quist is that like the law of the sea the final arbiter would be an agency of the UN. And that is to many people of the world and especially Americans a definite No No. It would also insist that anyone attempting to make a profit would not only have to share those profits with the rest of the world it will also insist on full technology transfers to any state that asks.

In short it will not happen until someone gets round to fixing this treaty and if billionaires with clout cant get the US goverment to start down that road then no one can.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#15 2012-05-13 16:12:49

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Grypd wrote:

Its all to do with political events down here on Earth and the so called Common heritage of mankind.

It basically comes down to no one can actually own outer space as it is owned by everyone.

louis wrote:

None of that precludes in my view licensing of land for specific purposes, or indeed a declaration of independence by the occupants of a celestial body.  If licensing were not allowed then you would have the absurdity that anyone could come along and say ride a 3 tonne rover over someone else's photovoltaic facility. Clearly there must be allowance made for organisaiton of land use.

So, I see no problem with very long leases of land for instance.

Actually there is great laws all wrapped up in the outer space treaty about how to deal with damaging another countries property in space. There is though no organisation for land use everyone and no one owns it there fore no land leases possible.

The Moon treaty that came out had tried to solve some of those issues but it was and unfortunatly remains a very unsuitable treaty for anyone that wants to move mankind off this rock. The basic quist is that like the law of the sea the final arbiter would be an agency of the UN. And that is to many people of the world and especially Americans a definite No No. It would also insist that anyone attempting to make a profit would not only have to share those profits with the rest of the world it will also insist on full technology transfers to any state that asks.

In short it will not happen until someone gets round to fixing this treaty and if billionaires with clout cant get the US goverment to start down that road then no one can.

The law doesn't operate on the principle "Only what is permitted by law is permissible". It operates on the principle that "That if something is permitted by law or is not forbidden by law, it is permissible". 

Licensing of land for certain uses is not forbidden by the treaties.

I think people are slightly being misled by the history of teh Antarctic Treaty. But what's happened there is that have been lots of protocols agreed about how to prevent environmental degradation of the continent.  I don't think that any supplementary protocols have been agreed following the space treaties. So we only have the bare bones of the treaty provisions.

It seems to be perfectly acceptable for a treaty participant to license uses of land in order to prevent anarchy and chaos.   Otherwise, you are ending up arguing the absurd position that a treaty nation can just ship in millions of people and let them roam chaotically across the planet (or moon) doing as they please.

I think it is implicit in the treaty that ordered development supervised by the treaty parties is favoured of unlicensed development.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#16 2012-05-13 21:07:52

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,828

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Firstly Commerce and exploitation of raw materials is the rich getting richer, it does not help mankind...
Secondly licensing, leasing have to have ownership rights established in order for the claim to be honored...
While

"The law doesn't operate on the principle "Only what is permitted by law is permissible". It operates on the principle that "That if something is permitted by law or is not forbidden by law, it is permissible". "

is true in that to which leads to law suits and legal rangling to gain a courts verdict on the interputation of the law...

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#17 2012-05-14 14:48:00

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

SpaceNut wrote:

Firstly Commerce and exploitation of raw materials is the rich getting richer, it does not help mankind...
Secondly licensing, leasing have to have ownership rights established in order for the claim to be honored...
While

"The law doesn't operate on the principle "Only what is permitted by law is permissible". It operates on the principle that "That if something is permitted by law or is not forbidden by law, it is permissible". "

is true in that to which leads to law suits and legal rangling to gain a courts verdict on the interputation of the law...

OK, well I think you have to think this through , look at the implications.

What would happen if people can get to Mars at a relatively cheap price? 

You are saying no country can have a licensing system for land use. So anyone can set up wherever they like? That sounds like a recipe for anarchy to me. I can't imagine that is what was intended by the framers of the treaty.

As soon as you say "well one of the treaty nations will have to say who occupies what land" you have a de facto system of licensing. 

I think some rational system of land allocation and land use is important. Better we make it explicit. As long as we are not appropriate the land to nation states or selling off freehold I don't see a problem.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#19 2012-05-14 23:54:40

Impaler
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From: South Hill, Virginia
Registered: 2012-05-14
Posts: 286

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

I'm sorry but 90% of what people are speculating about in this thread is just Bunk.  The 1976 Space treaty is not ambiguous as to private ownership of outer space, first off the treaty binds all signatory nations to not allow their nationals and legal entities (corporations) to violate the treaty either.

Article VI
States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non- governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, by an international organization, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the international organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization.

Right their in black and white, non-governmental agencies are MORE restricted because they are both bound the same restrictions as governments AND they can do nothing without their host government's "authorization and continuing supervision".  If the US government through NASA can't do an activity which would violate the treaty then it can not authorize someone else to do it either.  The US can authorize anything which is treaty compliant but if their is a dispute over this activity it is by definition and international dispute and not something any one government can dictate.

Antarctica is not actually the best Earth-side analogy for the Moon and Mars because most of Antarctica is 'nominally' claimed by government but all the claimant governments mutually agreeing to treat Antarctica as a Scientific commons without renouncing any of their claims.  The appropriate analogy for Space is that of International waters, which have never been claimed and are never can be, the space treaty firmly places space in this category.  But it IS legal to profit from international waters because an international legal regime has been created to govern it, a UN agency grants mining leases to large areas of the ocean floor for the purpose of Manganese nodule harvesting.  Several leases have already been made to various corporations and they will have to pay mining royalties for this.  The US is the only nation that hasn't joined the seafloor mining treaty but even the Bush administration had been willing to do so and it's established international law.

A similar convention for space mining is the most likely long-term outcome.  Anyone actually serious about Asteroid mining should be clamoring for this kind of legal regime not indulging in libertarian fantasies of going out and making extra-legal claims to any moon or asteroid.  I HOPE their are enough serious people within the space enthusiast community to create advocacy and public preshure for proper treaties and they can squelch the childish American space-libertarians camp.

Last edited by Impaler (2012-05-14 23:55:56)

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#20 2012-05-15 03:01:51

Grypd
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From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,847

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Welcome to New Mars Impaler.

The Outer space treaty is for a piece of primus legislation a mess. That is why the Moon treaty of 1979 was supposed to resolve a lot of issues but it is considered a failed treaty as so few ratified it (But it has never been legaly tested so may well still be active)

There are loopholes in the OST. It is perfectly possible for one of the big countries to create legislation that would allow land claims on the Moon etc and as long as it was not an organisation from that country or a mission launched from country that claimed that land it could pass.

An example given is a mission launched by the isle of man with investors across the world from Kourou using an act that was put in place in the US for settlement. The US would recognise that land claim but as it was not part of the US was under no obligation to defend it. For the OST it would work for the Moon treaty it would not.

Still these issues need to be resolved and that frankly with our increasing mineral and energy needs we desperatly need to have a new or revised OST. The OST has many good bits it stops us arming the stars and promotes peaceful uses and of course helps to compensate injured parties by others mistakes.

Still I would be very happy if we either amended the OST or put in place a proper treaty allowing utilisation rights and some land rights.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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#21 2012-05-15 06:39:20

Impaler
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From: South Hill, Virginia
Registered: 2012-05-14
Posts: 286

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Grypd:  Whats your source for this legal opinion that the OST can be circumvented by this kind of transnational finagling? 

The way I read it the Isle of man (or some other hypothetical non-signatory state) would need to make a territorial claim on the moon first and THEN grant property rights to the private party.  The US or any signatory state would then be recognizing the Isle of man's territorial claim to the moon not the private parties property rights and this recognition MIGHT be permissible under the treaty but it would not bind any other nation either signatory or not to recognize the Isle of mans claim.  I don't see the major Space faring nations going out of their way to aid 'flag of convenience' nations in laying claim to space while refraining from making their own claims.  If the US, Russia or China wanted to get some of the Moon they would simply withdraw from the OST which is allowed for in Article XVI and proceed to 'appropriate' the Moon via the established methods of occupation, defense and seeking to have their claims recognized by other nations.

But it is even arguable that the OST is now part of 'customary international law' and can be considered a "Peremptory Norm" from which no withdraw or is possible, much like the Geneva convention which every nation can be held to account for violating regardless of signatory status.  The standard for for Peremptory Norm is very high but the OST arguably fulfills most of the requirements (duration & broad near universal adoption), all that's lacking is the accumulation of more strong enforcement precedents such as multiple nations reaching the Moon and forgoing territorial claims or signatory governments prohibiting non-governmental activities under Article VI grounds.  Neither of these has been possible due to the NASA monopoly of manned lunar landing but once these precedents are set I'd think this would cement the OST.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peremptory_norm

Last edited by Impaler (2012-05-15 06:44:21)

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#22 2012-05-15 13:36:42

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Impaler wrote:

Grypd:  Whats your source for this legal opinion that the OST can be circumvented by this kind of transnational finagling? 

The way I read it the Isle of man (or some other hypothetical non-signatory state) would need to make a territorial claim on the moon first and THEN grant property rights to the private party.  The US or any signatory state would then be recognizing the Isle of man's territorial claim to the moon not the private parties property rights and this recognition MIGHT be permissible under the treaty but it would not bind any other nation either signatory or not to recognize the Isle of mans claim.  I don't see the major Space faring nations going out of their way to aid 'flag of convenience' nations in laying claim to space while refraining from making their own claims.  If the US, Russia or China wanted to get some of the Moon they would simply withdraw from the OST which is allowed for in Article XVI and proceed to 'appropriate' the Moon via the established methods of occupation, defense and seeking to have their claims recognized by other nations.

But it is even arguable that the OST is now part of 'customary international law' and can be considered a "Peremptory Norm" from which no withdraw or is possible, much like the Geneva convention which every nation can be held to account for violating regardless of signatory status.  The standard for for Peremptory Norm is very high but the OST arguably fulfills most of the requirements (duration & broad near universal adoption), all that's lacking is the accumulation of more strong enforcement precedents such as multiple nations reaching the Moon and forgoing territorial claims or signatory governments prohibiting non-governmental activities under Article VI grounds.  Neither of these has been possible due to the NASA monopoly of manned lunar landing but once these precedents are set I'd think this would cement the OST.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peremptory_norm


Where is you evidence that the OST prevents land licensing?  And how would you organise land use if you had one hundred thousand humans living on Mars?


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#23 2012-05-15 13:55:27

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,711

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Impaler wrote:

I'm sorry but 90% of what people are speculating about in this thread is just Bunk.  The 1976 Space treaty is not ambiguous as to private ownership of outer space, first off the treaty binds all signatory nations to not allow their nationals and legal entities (corporations) to violate the treaty either.

Article VI
States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non- governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, by an international organization, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the international organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization.

Right their in black and white, non-governmental agencies are MORE restricted because they are both bound the same restrictions as governments AND they can do nothing without their host government's "authorization and continuing supervision".  If the US government through NASA can't do an activity which would violate the treaty then it can not authorize someone else to do it either.  The US can authorize anything which is treaty compliant but if their is a dispute over this activity it is by definition and international dispute and not something any one government can dictate.

Antarctica is not actually the best Earth-side analogy for the Moon and Mars because most of Antarctica is 'nominally' claimed by government but all the claimant governments mutually agreeing to treat Antarctica as a Scientific commons without renouncing any of their claims.  The appropriate analogy for Space is that of International waters, which have never been claimed and are never can be, the space treaty firmly places space in this category.  But it IS legal to profit from international waters because an international legal regime has been created to govern it, a UN agency grants mining leases to large areas of the ocean floor for the purpose of Manganese nodule harvesting.  Several leases have already been made to various corporations and they will have to pay mining royalties for this.  The US is the only nation that hasn't joined the seafloor mining treaty but even the Bush administration had been willing to do so and it's established international law.

A similar convention for space mining is the most likely long-term outcome.  Anyone actually serious about Asteroid mining should be clamoring for this kind of legal regime not indulging in libertarian fantasies of going out and making extra-legal claims to any moon or asteroid.  I HOPE their are enough serious people within the space enthusiast community to create advocacy and public preshure for proper treaties and they can squelch the childish American space-libertarians camp.


You're not persuading with that case.

Firstly, there is no reason why a tiny dirt poor country wouldn't "authorise" a huge space corporation (whose turnover might be bigger than the country's GDP).  So there we have a flag of convenience situation. The idea that the company will be tied up in red tape is nonsense.

Secondly, the maritime boundary used to be 3 miles now it's more often 200 miles or more if I remember correctly.  Those changes came about as a result of de facto declarations in defiance of international law. So - not a very good example.

Thirdly, no one I know is talking about making a claim to a celestial body. But there is nothing in the OST which stops asteroid mining. Where there is silence there is permission.

Lastly, I don't think you are right about the Antarctic Treaty. It never made the Antarctic an exclusively scientific commons. The treaty made clear that other peaceful purposes apart from scientific ones (but not military ones) were allowed; "scientific research or for any other peaceful purpose".   Digging coal is a perfectly peaceful purpose. However, I believe that various subsequent protocols have effectively ruled out commercial exploitation. 

And a PS - there is nothing in the OST that disallows a self-governing community to form on a celestial body.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#24 2012-05-15 14:20:56

Mark Friedenbach
Member
From: Mountain View, CA
Registered: 2003-01-31
Posts: 308

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Impaler, you appear to have a good understanding of legal principles, but not this particular law and the later ratified treaties which clarified or expanded it (such as the Space Liability Convention) or the many existing legal briefs about them. There is, for example, a huge distinction between claims of sovereignty and property. For example, under the U.S. government's current interpretation of the OST, if a U.S. company launches a mining operation on the moon, Mars or asteroid, that facility of sovereign U.S. territory, and the resources which pass through that facility become the legal property of the individual or organization which owns the facility. The U.S. government reserves the right at its option (if it had the capability) to send a hypothetical "Space Coast Guard" to protect the private activities of its citizens in space, and enforce rights of ownership and contract. This is unambiguously true in the current interpretation of the law.

The U.S. government also reserves the right to recognize private land claims, and to similarly enforce them. Note that this is demonstrably different from claiming sovereignty, which is what is prohibited by the OST! This would require an act of congress, but would not require renegotiation of any international treaties.

Last edited by Mark Friedenbach (2012-05-15 14:24:41)

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#25 2012-05-15 15:07:11

Grypd
Member
From: Scotland, Europe
Registered: 2004-06-07
Posts: 1,847

Re: Space X to Lead Mars Consortium?

Mark Friedenbach wrote:

Impaler, you appear to have a good understanding of legal principles, but not this particular law and the later ratified treaties which clarified or expanded it (such as the Space Liability Convention) or the many existing legal briefs about them. There is, for example, a huge distinction between claims of sovereignty and property. For example, under the U.S. government's current interpretation of the OST, if a U.S. company launches a mining operation on the moon, Mars or asteroid, that facility of sovereign U.S. territory, and the resources which pass through that facility become the legal property of the individual or organization which owns the facility. The U.S. government reserves the right at its option (if it had the capability) to send a hypothetical "Space Coast Guard" to protect the private activities of its citizens in space, and enforce rights of ownership and contract. This is unambiguously true in the current interpretation of the law.

The U.S. government also reserves the right to recognize private land claims, and to similarly enforce them. Note that this is demonstrably different from claiming sovereignty, which is what is prohibited by the OST! This would require an act of congress, but would not require renegotiation of any international treaties.

Mark claims of sovreignty are not allowed we all apart from louis understand this. But the problem in your scenario is that International law differs on just what you use those resources that are mined for. If it is to help fuel a vehicle to further a mission then it comes down to the benefit of Mankinds knowledge. If though it is to garner resources for making profits then there will be court cases and since they will use existing similar law (The law of the sea as an example) to inform the case. The likehood is that the US would lose.


Chan eil mi aig a bheil ùidh ann an gleidheadh an status quo; Tha mi airson cur às e.

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