Celestial bodies

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 of real estate on celestial bodies has been present since the 1890s.

In situ resource utilization

In space exploration, in situ (which means “in its original position or place” in Latin) resource utilization (ISRU) is the practice of collection, processing, storing and use of materials found or manufactured on other astronomical objects (the Moon, Mars, asteroids, etc.) that replace materials that would otherwise be brought from Earth.

The legality of artificial shooting stars

A satellite launched to create rains of shooting stars on order? A Japanese company launched on January 17, 2019 a satellite in outer space. It’s goal? Create rains of shooting stars on demand. The Japanese company Astro Live Experiences (ALE) today responds to an old dream: its founder claims to have found a way to trigger a shower of shooting stars to order. The first could be visible from Japan in 2020.

Launch period and launch window

A launch period refers to the days that the rocket can launch to reach its intended orbit. A launch window indicates the time frame on a given day in the launch period that the rocket can launch to reach its intended orbit. The dynamics change from mission to mission, and determining the launch period and launch window is an important part of the overall flight design.

An interview with Jacques Arnould

An interview with the French priest Jacques Arnould working for the CNES on ethical questions linked to outer space: Mars, the Moon, the exploitation of celestial bodies, science and faith, forestry, and the future of space law.