Posted on December 14, 2018
China's Chang'e-4 lunar rover will stand in the Von Kármán crater in the Aitken Basin due to touchdown on the other side of the Moon around New Year 2019 – the rugged and complex terrain of the South Pole region. The planet's new space superpower will set its flag. Will it also claim ownership?
This is a geopolitical issue that could change the history of the 21
In July of 2016, the senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Martin Elvis, raised the alarm that an unfriendly force – China, for example – could take control of an important piece of lunar land. They could do it legally by exploiting the provisions of the space contract that prevent any nation – and thus society too – from owning a celestial body, but a gap in the pact could mean the same, warns Elvis. 19659004] The properties in question are the so-called "Peaks of Eternal Light" (picture above), which are located around permanent craters in the shadow of the Lunar South Pole. Unlike Earth, which is so inclined that the poles are in six months of darkness and six months of light, the Moon is almost perfectly aligned with its orbit around the Sun. Because of the inclination of the moon, these peaks are mostly or not permanently immersed in sunlight, so you can have an almost uninterrupted power supply, ideal for a photovoltaic power plant.
This part of the moon would do this ideal places to build solar power plants that support the mining in the nearby craters, where water and other valuable resources such as helium 3 were deposited over billions of years.
Elvis says the terms of the contract allow nations to use resources, including through the establishment of research stations, and to prevent others from making such efforts disturb. In some cases, this could de facto be property, Elvis said. While China and Japan are planning moon landings, and corporate leaders are keeping an eye on their own space projects, the gap has become more important.
The Space Treaty, endorsed by the United Nations in 1967 and signed by 104 nations, describes the area as a peaceful area where activities are conducted "for the benefit and in the interest of all countries".
Article II, reports Harvard Politics, is one of the most important parts of the contract in the eyes of the commercial space industry. It is said that space "is not subject to any national appropriation by any claim of sovereignty, use or occupation, or otherwise." Many have awarded US competition law for the 2015 space competition title to American companies a violation of this clause the natural resources collected by heavenly bodies.
One reason why this controversy remains unresolved is the debate over the phrase "national appropriation" in Article II. For example, both the US and Soviet governments have brought lunar rocks back to Earth, and Japan even has dust from an asteroid fetched. "No one ever said that was illegal for these nations to extract these rock samples," said Henry Hertzfeld, professor of space policy at George Washington University.
While nations were able to carry out these small extractions without repercussions, they were legally difficult. Quandaries occur when resources are extracted from a celestial body for commercial purposes. "Suppose an asteroid is ten meters wide and you pick up a big rock and the asteroid is now eight meters wide," Elvissaid said in an interview with the HPR. "Is it okay to keep promoting until it just does not exist anymore?"
Hertzfeld pointed out that Article IX of the treaty, which requires states to consult in advance about the possible harmful effects of their space operations, is probably the legal mechanism to deal with such a problem. He agreed, however, that "somewhere along the way, some [policy] decisions must be made about it."
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Credit: With Thanks to Ron Miller Eight Wonders of the Solar System
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