United States, UN, Patricia Lewis discussed on Discovery



Some of the scientific is motivated by the commercial potential of space tourism, which will surely begin as a pastime for the rich. Some, meanwhile shares with European voyages of exploration, desire to find and bring back new resorts. With companies such as deep space, industries and planetary resources aim to send spacecraft asteroids to extract valuable, minerals, such as platinum, gold and other precious metals, and there's talk also of mining the moon for a rare and valuable form of helium. Some will regard this capitalization of space with dismay, but is there anything to prevent it? The use of resources in space is in principle governed by the outer space treaty, an international agreement drawn up at the height of the space race in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven. This states that the exploration and use of anti space should be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries and she'll be the province of all mankind. It also says that outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, but the treaty. He didn't foresee the commercialization of space expiration. I spoke to Patricia Lewis research director for international security at Chatham. House of that parallels between exploration in the seventeenth century on the public and private ventures into space today in the past, if we look at the time of there on depose rack. In fact, it was states governments, but also in private enterprise of a lot of money to be made a lot of exploitation to be done. They didn't know what they were going to encounter. And I think we're in a similar stage right now, and it will also involve states government's the infrastructure, the architecture that exists for space exploration that companies are able to piggyback on if you like. So what's happening. Now, of course, is that we have an international legal system that can't take this into account. We have the outer space treaty, which prohibits the ownership of any celestial body or any. Out of it and the moon treaty likewise for the moon, nor the very few countries are in that treaty ring was moon freak, the moon, she she was nineteen Seventy-nine say, you know, some ten years after the outer space treaty. But I think contempt of the way people were thinking about it. Then they weren't thinking, I think, how should have been thinking about commercial exploration. So now we've got two countries already with national legislation on commercial exploration and use of near earth objects like asteroids. The two countries are the United States in Luxembourg looks, of course. Well, let me space. Luxembourg of courses a country which encourages all sorts of new startups encourages all sorts of companies to register their and a number of companies are now registering in order to make use of the new legislation. So what does this legislation permit? Does it allow companies to stake a claim? So the United States legislation which was brought into fetch and twenty fifteen. The space act allows US citizens to engage in exploitation of space research, and it looks at things like water and minerals. The Luxembourg one allows for licensing supervisory roles and also ownership on near earth objects, and you know what could possibly go wrong. So this literally means that a company could go to an asteroid or part of the moon plant a flag and say, not wanting to incriminate anyone, but say this now belongs to Google or to Facebook. I'm not sure how that's going to work, but certainly if we look at history at the. Time is runner diversion in a, it's who gets there. First, isn't it say what we've got here is international law now being challenged by new national laws. So the outer space treaty does it need up dating now? I think it does, but I think it's going to be almost impossible given current politics to do so and different companies have been looking at different types of strides. So there's three different types of stories, says one with a lot of water as one with a little water and some minerals, and then there are ones with you're really packed densely with minerals, and there are now registered companies that are specifically looking at asteroid mining. I think as we get into the sort of capabilities that manufacturing now has been developing where machines can make machines. So using solar power using the minerals that are on the us droids if you put up a machine that can start to make other machines to do things and to do the mining and even perhaps make the spacecraft ascend. MAC is that. I don't know, but certainly this is the imagined scenario, but they're not looking at people going up there. I think if you're going to the moon or Mars, that's very different thing. We know that we can turn people there in principle, and there is talk of establishing moon bases there, partly for this reason to do proper exploration of what resources exist there. And again, you know what sort of resources for the moon people interested in? Well, again, I think they're looking at the possibility for mineral exploration. Obviously, they're also looking at how you might set up a colony on a bigger planet, and indeed is you know that people have been practicing on flung places on planet earth seems to be part of our human spirit to go out and explore worlds that we haven't encountered before where owned conceivably to profit. I think there's a sort of scientific exploration aspect to it, and then they will also be those who will want to make money out of it is very discussion about whether this kind of activity ought to be permitted. On ethical grounds. Yes, there is and not just ethical, but legal political. So we'll have those who are thinking about moral and ethical implications and thinking hard about how we might contaminate other planets and what that might do to them could other stuff that we bring back from other planets contaminate us. Have we thought about that? That's an interesting comparison, I suppose, because it seemed very clear in the age of exploration in the seventeenth eighteenth centuries that both we Europeans contaminated the countries that we went to and also potentially brought back diseases like syphilis were possibly thought will come from the new world. So this is still a fear that we don't know quite what is out there and what we might take to. It might bring back. I think that's upstate true. I think if you look through the history of expiration that encounter between different societies and different peoples, and also different environments means that we should expect to have a similar unintended unexpected consequences of our actions, and we don't know what they'll be. They'll be different. Perhaps the other lesson that history tells us from the age of colonialization that at least conflict between nations fighting for the rights to, you know, this all that mineral rich place, a, we likely to see that. Well, this is the really sad thing. I think if you look back to the nineteen sixties and the outer space treaty and what was clear threaded throughout that was to create a new project for humanity where we would all work together and we saw that in the international space station, but the truth is if we go back to the nineteen fifties the expiration of space, if we look at satellite's going up into orbit, nine hundred fifty, seven with Sputnik was all about militarism. Some we've always had this constant tension between the military capabilities of space and the potential for war, either involving space or in-space itself. And then the scientific exploration which is trying to under. Stand who we are in this tiny blue dot in the soda system. We have the committee on peaceful uses of our space in Vienna, which is a UN body where all countries get together and talk about the whole broad range of things, legal, scientific, technological, all of the treaties that are under the UN for space. And I think that this would be the place to have begin completely different discussion about how we might frame our exploration of our solar system. So it's really a question I think is whether we want Star Wars or Star Trek. It

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