10 Oct: Governing Outer Space
On 10th October, 1967 a treaty went into force that has gone on to become the backbone for all international space law – a United Nations-approved agreement known as the The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, but better known today as the Outer Space Treaty.
It’s a relatively succinct document of just 17 articles, some as short as a single sentence, but it represented a lot of fundamentally very challenging cooperation at the time. Not least because it came about when the Cold War was in full swing, and both the United States and the Soviet Union wanted to prevent the expansion of the nuclear arms race into space.
In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly explain why the principles of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 turned out to be a good fit for rules on what can and can’t be done in outer space; revisit everyone’s favourite topic of property law in the 13th century; and discuss whether Elon Musk will, according to the law, own other planets if he lands on them.
• ‘Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’ (US Department of State, 2009): https://2009-2017.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm
• ‘How an international treaty signed 50 years ago became the backbone for space law’ (The Verge, 2017): https://www.theverge.com/2017/1/27/14398492/outer-space-treaty-50-anniversary-exploration-guidelines
• ‘Who Owns The Moon?’ (Vsauce, 2015):