And Now For Something Completely Different: Non-Fake Space Law

If for some reason you’re interested in reading about real space law, as opposed to the fun space law that we like to feature here, Opinio Juris has had a couple posts up lately discussing issues of private enterprises investing in space exploration. Helium-3 mining, which has been been something of a science fiction trope over the years, is closer to becoming science reality, but as mentioned in previous posts, there’s quite a few unsettled questioned regarding private ownership and appropriation of natural resources in space. These unsettled legal issues will be a barrier to development in space:

[S]ignificant public or private investment in helium-3 mining would be predicated on a stable legal regime concerning the property and ownership issues of mined lunar resources. Thus … it is in the U.S.’s interest to take part in the construction of a lunar resource regime (be it treaty, international organization, or other policy option) sooner, rather than later.

Although it is something of a chicken and an egg question — while an improved space law regime will open the path towards greater investment in space exploration, the development of new space technologies will itself spur an evolution in the current legal framework:

When you have teen-aged hobbyists sending payloads as high as NASA research balloons, then you know the regulatory environment is about to undergo a basic change.

-Susan

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