Moon

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.

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 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 Commercial Lunar Payload Services program

The Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) is a NASA program to contract transportation services able to send small robotic landers and rovers to the Moon with the goals of exploration, in situ resource utilisation (ISRU), and lunar science to support the Artemis lunar program.

The Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program

NextSTEP is a public-private partnership model that seeks commercial development of deep space exploration capabilities to support more extensive human spaceflight missions in and beyond cislunar space: the space near Earth that extends just beyond the Moon. NextSTEP is managed by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems (AES).

Tensions between NASA and China

Throughout the years, starting in 2010, the US government has prohibited all researchers from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from working bilaterally with Chinese citizens affiliated with the Chinese government. But recently, scientists and policy makers in the U.S. and Europe were seeking new ways to work with China on its ambitious lunar exploration program.

Audouin Dollfus, the French aeronaut

Canadian astrophysicist Hubert Reeves considers Audouin Dollfus to be one of the greatest French contemporary astronomers. In particular, he discovered Saturn’s satellite Janus, determined the composition of Mars’ soil, detected an atmospheric residue on Mercury, and selected the Apollo XI mission landing site, which allowed Neil Armstrong to set the first human foot on the Moon.

The most isolated villages on Earth

On Earth, there are villages so isolated that their inhabitants are forced to live without any connection with the outside world. These examples illustrate the difficulties that will encounter a human colony installed on the Moon or on Mars. In fact, according to NASA, temperatures on Mars at low altitude are similar to those in Antarctica.

A conference by Jean-Yves Le Gall

Space law will develop in the upcoming years, there will be more and more space legal issues. France set an example with the LOI n° 2008-518 du 3 juin 2008 relative aux opérations spatiales. Americans want to “set the rules” on the Moon. It is a subject in full development.

From Antarctic tourism to Moon tourism

Humanity has always wanted to conquer more and more territory. Deserts, islands, tropical forests any area that seemed liveable, have been occupied by men. On Earth, Antarctica was one of the last places that remained untouched, but step-by-step, men are colonising this land of ice. The Moon is another current challenge for the more adventurous men. Antarctica and the Moon have a lot more in common.

Luna 1 and its legal status

Luna 1, also known as Mechta (meaning “Dream” in Russian), was launched on January 2, 1959 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Luna 1, the first of a series of Soviet automatic interplanetary stations successfully launched in the direction of the Moon, was the first spacecraft to reach the vicinity of the Earth’s Moon.

What is orbital station-keeping?

For many Earth satellites, the effects of the non-Keplerian forces, like the deviations of the gravitational force of the Earth from that of a homogeneous sphere, the gravitational forces from Sun/Moon, solar radiation pressure and air drag, must be counteracted. The orbital manoeuvres made by thruster burns that are needed to keep a spacecraft in a particular assigned orbit are called orbital station-keeping.

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.

Brilliant Pebbles

Brilliant Pebbles was a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system proposed in 1987, at the end of the Cold War. Brilliant Pebbles was the idea of Lowell Wood and Edward Teller, “the father of the hydrogen bomb”, of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

The overview effect

The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from outer space. Many people who have experienced outer space have lived the overview effect, “truly transformative experiences including senses of wonder and awe, unity with nature, transcendence, and universal brotherhood”.

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.

The legal status of solar energy

Solar energy, which is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “radiant energy emitted by the Sun”, is exploited both on Earth and in outer space: what is its legal status?

An interview with Michel Viso

An interview with French veterinarian Michel Viso from the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) in Paris about exobiology, Enceladus, Europa, Titan, French spationauts, and extraterritorial life. Could we terraform Mars? Could we live on the Moon? How to define life? What is the future of space law?

The legal status of Chinese space-based solar power stations

There might soon be Chinese space-based solar power stations orbiting around the Earth: what would their legal status be? This breathtaking project might revolutionize our relationship to energy, outer space, and History. It might also of course raise deeply interesting space law related questions.