What laws govern the international space station? Or children born on the Moon?

In December, a German and Italian-made laboratory module will be added to the International Space Station. This development raised some interesting questions about the legal frameworks that govern the cosmos during Humans in Outer Space – Interdisciplinary Odysseys, a conference held in Vienna in October by the European Science Foundation. Dr Frans von der Dunk, ...

598283_196251main_image_9505.jpg
598283_196251main_image_9505.jpg

In December, a German and Italian-made laboratory module will be added to the International Space Station. This development raised some interesting questions about the legal frameworks that govern the cosmos during Humans in Outer Space – Interdisciplinary Odysseys, a conference held in Vienna in October by the European Science Foundation.

Dr Frans von der Dunk, a scholar at the International Institute of Air and Space Law at the University of Leiden, rejected the notion that U.S. law applies to the entire station:

In December, a German and Italian-made laboratory module will be added to the International Space Station. This development raised some interesting questions about the legal frameworks that govern the cosmos during Humans in Outer Space – Interdisciplinary Odysseys, a conference held in Vienna in October by the European Science Foundation.

Dr Frans von der Dunk, a scholar at the International Institute of Air and Space Law at the University of Leiden, rejected the notion that U.S. law applies to the entire station:

It was agreed that each state registers its own separate elements, which means that you now have a piece of the US annexed to a piece of Europe annexed to a piece of Japan in outer space, legally speaking.”

But what laws cover other outer space territories? The 1967 Outer Space Treaty prohibits earth-bound nations from claiming outer space territories. The moon, for instance, cannot be claimed by any country. But this ambiguity raises other questions. As conference attendees noted, “It is also not clear what legal nationality a child born on the Moon would have.”

(Hat tip: Slashdot)

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