Celestial bodies

NEAR Shoemaker: The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Space Probe

During a whole year spent in orbit close to the asteroid (between five and fifty kilometres), NEAR Shoemaker allowed to elaborate databases, provided in innumerable fields, such as the mass of the object, its structure, its gravity, its magnetic field…

Carl Sagan and Project A119

Carl Sagan was one of the founders of the Planetary Society and a member of the SETI Institute. On the other hand, he participated as a researcher in Project A119, a covert operation of the U.S. Air Force whose purpose was to drop an atomic bomb on the Moon.

Legal issues concerning lunar rocks brought back to Earth

The term lunar rock commonly refers to a piece or sample of soil from the Moon. The lunar rocks available today on Earth have three different origins. This term is more particularly used to indicate the rocks collected in situ by space missions having brought back samples of soil from the Moon.

All about the Japanese space law

Adopted on November 16, 2016, the Space Activities Act entered into force on November 15, 2018. Creating a regime for authorising space operations conducted by private operators, the new Japanese system seeks to encourage engagement of the private sector in space activities by ensuring legal certainty.

In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) and the future of commercial space

Today, many in the space community think that In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) is not ready for use in actual missions, however it is a fact that space resources are already being used in outer space today. Solar energy provides substantial capability to satellites in Earth orbit and on inter-planetary journeys.

The history of space elevators

The promoters of space elevators generally do not fail to mention the first published concrete attempt, that of the Tower of Babel. Literally “The Gate of the Gods”, it was a ziggurat, a two-story temple-tower, supposed to allow the Babylonians to reach a sacred domain where they would find their supreme god, who lived in the highest heavens.

Is naming stars legal?

For this new Space Law article on Space Legal Issues, we have asked ourselves the following question: is naming stars legal? There are services which will let you name a star in the sky after a loved one. You can commemorate a special day, or the life of an amazing person. But can you really name a star? Is it legal?

Telepossession and space law

Telepossession could provide for a form of possession, which would allow mining and space colonisation companies to develop the extraterrestrial resources used in making space stations, fleets of spacecraft, fuelling stations and all other colonisation infrastructures.

The militarisation of celestial bodies

About thirty years ago, a part of the doctrine hypothesised the possibility of using celestial bodies as interplanetary stations. This eventuality goes hand in hand with the recognition of the exploration of the Moon and other celestial bodies mentioned in Article I of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. One wonders what implications this discipline might entail, and once again, we could be faced with a gap capable of exposing risky conduct.

Euclid space telescope promises cosmological revolution

Euclid is a visible to near-infrared space telescope currently under development by the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Euclid Consortium. The objective of the Euclid mission is to better understand dark energy and dark matter, by accurately measuring the acceleration of the Universe.

The Lawfulness of Space Mining Activities

For this new Space Law article on Space Legal Issues, we have decided to publish The Lawfulness of Space Mining Activities, a space law Master’s Thesis written by Louis de Gouyon Matignon. Available by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of this article, we hope that this work will help you understand space mining, celestial bodies, the lawfulness of space mining activities, asteroids, asteroid mining…

The future space legal issues

Space law was created in the early 1960s as part of the United Nations, under the leadership of the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., then engaged in the race for the Moon. Today, the future space legal issues are the following: the exploitation of celestial bodies in outer space, the militarisation of outer space, and Space Traffic Management (STM).

Pedis possessio and asteroids

Pedis possessio is a principle of mining law, according to which a qualified person who peaceably, and in good faith, enters a land in the public domain in search of valuable minerals, may hold the place exclusively against others having no better title. In the context of space law and that of the lawfulness of space mining activities, could the principle of pedis possessio interest space lawyers?

The 1979 Moon Agreement

The 1979 Moon Agreement reaffirms and elaborates on many of the provisions of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty as applied to the Moon and other celestial bodies, providing that those bodies should be used exclusively for peaceful purposes, that their environments should not be disrupted, that the United Nations should be informed of the location and purpose of any station established on those bodies.

The solar storm of 1859

Also known as the Carrington Event, the solar storm of 1859 was a powerful geomagnetic storm. An incredible storm of charged particles sent by the Sun slammed into Earth’s atmosphere, overpowered it, and caused havoc on the ground. Telegraph wires, the high-tech stuff of the time, suddenly shorted out in the United States of America and Europe, igniting widespread fires. Colourful aurora, normally visible only in Polar Regions, were seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii.

Dragonfly, a drone soon on Titan

Dragonfly, the fourth mission of the “New Frontier” exploration program, is a planned spacecraft and mission that will send a mobile robotic rotorcraft lander to Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, in order to study prebiotic chemistry and extraterrestrial habitability at various locations where it will perform vertical-take-offs and landings.

The Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities

In our research on Space Law and resources, it is interesting in this new Space Legal Issues article to have a look at the (failed) Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities.

Why explore space?

Today, space activities are frequently justified on the basis of economic or policy rationales, or the benefits deriving from space spinoffs. Yet the dream of spaceflight is as old as Humanity and found in cultures around the world. So what drives us to explore the cosmos?

The Solar System

The Solar System has three major zones: the inner solid planets and asteroids, the large gaseous planets, and the ice-dominated small bodies that make up the Kuiper belt and Oort Cloud.

The lawfulness of extraterrestrial real estate

Let’s have a look at the lawfulness of extraterrestrial real estate. Extraterrestrial real estate refers to claims of land ownership on other planets or natural satellites or parts of space by certain organisations, individuals, and artists. The topic has been present since the 1890s.