Monday, May 11, 2015

Laws of the Space Jungle


My last post wished the Hubble a happy 25th birthday and one of my pals joked over Facebook that hey, Hubble can finally get a rental car!  I had a funny flashback to Hubble turning 21, and quipping that it could finally have a beer.  Why do we project human milestones onto hardware missions? Beats me. Perhaps it's just our simplest measure of the passage of time, serving as easy comparison.

My buddy Mike C. in Austin quipped back on the same string, "Well if astronauts went up to repair it again and share a beer, since it is technically in space, would the age laws from the US apply on missions?"

Would you believe the answer is yes?! Technically, astronauts who imbibe in space would have to be 18 years old on Russian or Chinese rockets, 20 in the Japanese ISS module, and 21 on any various American crafts.

So says Article 8 of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (excerpt): "A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body."

Space Treaty
Mostly so this doesn't happen...

The HST is a shared project between NASA and the ESA, but the Hubble is on the American Registry of Space Objects, and also listed by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs as US territory. The same would apply to any of our orbiters or landers.

International Space Station laws apply similar "Location"-based principles. The broad agreement says "...each partner state in this visionary cooperation adventure registers its own part of the station, and consequently can apply its own laws to events therein."

The drinking age would only be a single example. Even patent law applies; if something is invented in the Kibo module, Japan owns the rights.

Legally speaking, we now have a piece of the US annexed to a piece of Europe annexed to a piece of Russia annexed to a piece of Japan in low earth Orbit.

Space Law
Cool, huh? And it's just the tip of the iceberg. Space Law is developing into such a robust field, all the major Space Treaties, Declarations and Principles are too numerous and labyrinthine to cover effectively here… but consider this:
The UN's master list of all agreements between space-faring nations is now 55 pages long... and those are just the titles! In addition, space exploration is subject to international law, not just the dictates of those with the resources to get there. In other words, all nations have a say in how space is used, even if they do not have launch capabilities.

Those who are curious can visit the UNOOSA site to browse traffic regulations, liability for floating debris and collisions, [lack of] moon ownership and, believe it or not, extra-terrestrial alien rights.

That's not a typo. ALIEN RIGHTS.

Interested in pursuing it as a career? As space tourism becomes a reality, this field will only grow. They even list the many schools offering degrees in space law. Because that's what we need. More lawyers ;)


Anonymous said...

Thats fantastic work Heather... That really is a good thing your doing with #ThankyouSTEMwomen ... I'm really happy that you've put yourself further towards what you obviously have a natural talent for... Just like spacetweep society it's fantastic watching the women get social media contributing constitutionally... I've admired your clarity for a while and am really keen for more of your work @ ThankyouSTEMwomen ...

Hello @McAlpinecat}

Thanks Heather...

Anonymous said...

If all that I have said and done, and am still but too ready to say and do, have not sufficiently proved what my real feelings are and must be ever towards you, my love, I have no other proof to offer.

My Dearest & Most Beloved Friend

Bless you -- ever & even more than ever.

Your most attached

Is there anything on earth or heaven would have made me so happy as to have made you mine long ago? and not less now than then, but more than ever at this time -- you know I would with pleasure give up all here and all beyond the grave for you –

I was and am yours, freely and most entirely, to obey, to honour, love --and fly with you when, where, and how you yourself might and may determine.

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from 'an astronaughts journal 25th century']

3000 years since they had been at home, could anyone believe three thousand years had elapsed since they set off for work? A new space mining company had ambitions about earning it's ability for moving closer towards the 'elites of time' community, a group of professional acheivers that had transcended social ecology with their theoretical practice, everyone knew that the champions of space travel worked for space mining companies, space mining companies had been the reason that the dorkman pill was researched and officially available for the public in the late 21st century christianity time...

Jazzy as he was known was a right character, everyone liked him for about 7 minutes, he said something funny, the group laughed, someone responded with something that was always exposed for being less savvy than than the joke, it was the reason those that knew him just laughed and gestured a nod towards him.

Jazzy as he had been known was an American liberalist, a social componant of the evolution that originated from macedonia in the 23rd century when it was discovered that an element entering the atmosphere at a height of 300 ft was entering the local class airbus's becuase of the banking of the 20th century airplanes in Lower Asia, the turn towards the flank of the aircraft was commonly thought a strategic maneuver, it wasn't known that glint of the local star gave a comtribution for extra light that had a social culture involved, when it was known that the interest of the DNA from this social activity was actually an activant of a dormant particle known as 'vundar' that occured in the late devonian period in small streams where the temperature of sugar from an extinct plant created a type of alcohol erosion in the pollen that local insects evolved with the atmosphere of there air, a type of malaria evolved from the same type of swamp atmospheric conditioning that took doctors three hundred years after first discovering malaria was an extra corricular culture to re encorporate into the local community, vundar was an extravert's explanation for behaviour after 3 beers's at 09.30 in the morning...

Jazzy was a genius, a computer scientist that could build computers using non abelion anions from any social species traversing planetary ion weather in 6 dimension universe time zones unknown, it was his explanation of universal weather that defined the crewman for what they were in the age of zone management, where particles were managed according with the empires constituion agreements.

Jazzy kept the same pants on for years at a time, he liked it, it was difficult not thinking if wearing the same pants everyday wasn't the right thing a person should do anymore, why get rid of the arc's sense's that 22nd century science learnt was the path towards extra sensory perception for the sake of not knowing what was happening in the stremen zone... Don't know, but, the shipping lanes of chorddes central certainly explained dinner time was not wahat it must of been in the early 22nd century...