The Universe Today

The Outer Space Treaty was signed in 1967.

In a recent study submitted to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society for the 8th Interstellar Symposium special issue, which should be published sometime in 2024, Dr. Jacob Haqq-Misra, who is a senior researcher and Senior Officer of Operations and cooperation. – the founder of the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, explores how the exploration of space laws in the future that governs may arise, whether conducted or not and on the planet of the sun or beyond. He views this study as an extension of the planetary rulership models he discussed earlier in his book, Mars Rulerto explore the potential limits of spaceflight control at interstellar distances.

“The purpose of my paper is to think properly about the management of the future, before we start examining people,” Dr. Haqq-Misra tells. The Universe Today. “It is important that we learn from the lessons of history and start these long-term conversations now.”

Along with his book, Dr. Haqq-Misra also draws on the long-standing Outer Space Treaty (OST) as a reference towards a pragmatic approach to managing space activities for future exploration. Established on January 27, 1967, the OST is formally known as the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. It is considered as the basis of the current international law that governs global space guided by several key principles, including the use and exploration of outer space for the betterment of all people and not just independent nations, the use of the Earth’s Moon and other planets as the main purposes of peace. , and no single nation can claim a space object like its own, to name just a few.

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Currently, 114 countries are considered parties to the OST, including all space-faring countries, and another 22 are signatories to the OST. Dr. Haqq-Misra tells The Universe Today if you consider the OST as a “general success in maintaining a space for peaceful and scientific exploration”, but how do you see the OST changing as humanity moves further into the cosmos?

“I don’t think it is likely that the OST will be changed because changing the agreement is a difficult process – almost as difficult as drafting a new agreement,” Dr Haqq-Misra tells. The Universe Today. But nations have three options with treaties: follow the treaty, withdraw from the treaty, or ignore the treaty. With interstellar travel, bypassing OST arrangements will be easy as it will be difficult to monitor the activities of space explorers light years away from Earth.

A study by Dr. Haqq-Misra puts a lot of emphasis on some pragmatic restrictions based on past history, which in summary, says that the new space laws may face opposition from the space travel nations, the required sharing of space resources will not gain support from all space travel nations, and the new space. The laws will not get enough signatories to be considered international law. Examples that fall under one or more restrictions include the Law of the Sea Convention, the Antarctic Treaty System, the International Maritime Organization, the Moon Treaty, and the more recent Artemis Accords. The pushback is currently shown by these examples why Dr. Haqq-Misra places a strong emphasis on developing pragmatic approaches to future legislation. But in addition to pragmatism, what other suggestions can be made regarding future laws governing the exploration of the sky, whether in the planetary realm or beyond?

“I think that new spatial agreements are not possible, so a new spatial law will be developed based on the best business practices of the commercial space, agreements between public and private agencies, national law and litigation,” Dr. Haqq-Misra tells. The Universe Today. “I recommend that local agencies individually and collectively develop independent approaches to long-term management problems to deal with local settlements with foresight, rather than reacting to problems later.”

The review very briefly mentions science fiction, strictly noting that this is where “bidirectional control over interplanetary and interstellar distances can be common”, but does not mention specific examples of science fiction by name. However, many examples of spatial control can be drawn from science fiction, in particular Star Trek and Star Wars. In the former, the largest and most well-known governing body in space is the democratic United Federation of Planets, commonly known as Starfleet, while the latter shows various forms of democracy and authoritarian rule throughout its time, including the old, Galactic Republic. Monarchy, the New Republic, and the First Order. But whether taken from prehistory or science fiction, why is it important to maintain a pragmatic approach to our future space laws, and what circumstances might make it less pragmatic?

“Ideas of settlement can easily drift into the realm of scientific speculation or philosophical thought experiments, but many ideas from such studies could not be implemented in the near future,” Dr. Haqq-Misra tells. The Universe Today. “Any models of space management must be technically feasible, in the sense that they cannot use concepts that we know are not physically possible or mandatory. The political realities of the world must also be acknowledged: even if the future is very different, there must be a logical track from the past to the future in order to be a viable scenario. And any model of governance in space must be sustainable over long periods of time—thousands of years or more—which would be a challenge for most governance models on Earth.

Currently, humans have only been on the Moon, but that will change in the next few years or decades. While a trip to the Moon takes just a few days while the current trip to Mars takes about seven months over a two-year window launch based on the Red Planet’s orbit around Earth. Sending unmanned spacecraft to the outer solar system takes several years, but the famous Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft took decades to reach the edge of our solar system and interstellar space, and Voyager 1 is now believed to be the first to enter interstellar space. —it will take tens of thousands of years to reach our nearest star, Alpha Centauri. Unlike science fiction, we are far from being close to faster-than-light control. So, how will the increased distances of travel, whether within or across the solar system, affect the laws of space in the future, especially in relation to enforcement?

“Compulsion will be more difficult with intermediate distances,” said Dr. Haqq-Misra. The Universe Today. “Communication with Mars causes delays on the order of tens of minutes, but communication with explorers orbiting nearby stars can take decades or more. Implementing OST requirements for government oversight of commercial space agencies remains a challenge for exploring Mars and beyond. “

How will the laws of space evolve as humanity continues to push out into the cosmos in the coming years, decades, centuries and millennia? Only time will tell, and that’s why we science!

As always, keep doing science and keep looking up!

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