Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law
moon, Mars, Earth, solar system, NASA
This Article argues that despite the existence of some open questions regarding fine points in the law and the unlikelihood of a new treaty regulating lunar activity, investors (of whatever type, whether public or private) should not be deterred due to any concern about the state of the law. The current regulatory process to launch a vehicle and operate a payload may be “clunky” in places, but it is not unduly burdensome. While there is plenty of debate about regulatory reform, it is a debate about how to improve the existing system—not necessarily to fix it. In other words, existing international law is already sufficient to protect the interests of investors, nations, and humankind.
This Article will first look at what resources are likely to be extracted and why. We then describe the current international initiatives to forge new law regarding resource extraction in outer space. We close by making the case that existing law, although not ideal in every way, provides sufficient legal protections and regulatory certainty to allow both governments and industry to move forward with confidence.
Sundahl, Mark J. and Murphy, Jeffrey A., "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Moon: Is Existing Law Sufficient to Enable Resource Extraction on the Moon?" (2020). Law Faculty Articles and Essays. 1156.