Law, Media Criticism, Political Commentary, Popular Culture, Space, Technology and Society Space Pirates October 5, 2015 Rand Simberg 12 Comments Michael Listner explains in excruciating space-law detail why Mark Watney isn’t one.
12 thoughts on “Space Pirates”
And per the Titanic comments – this is why we don’t allow lawyers to edit science fiction.
Unless we write it ourselves.
Lawyers write a lot of fiction; regrettably most of is from plaintiff’s lawyers. 🙂
Why wouldn’t mars be considered international waters? Could you salvage a boat on a sand bar that wasn’t part of any country?
Because it’s not any sort of waters, let alone international ones.
But but but… NASA says there’s liquid water on Mars. Saltwater, at that.
By that logic, the frozen-over seas of Europa might be international waters. Titan is a bit trickier: it has lakes, which aren’t water, but it has mountains, which are, yup, water.
If you’re going to construct a consistent legal framework then any place not under recognized national jurisdiction would be covered by the same rules.
But that’s asking a bunch of people who aren’t scientists and engineers to be logical.
“But that’s asking a bunch of people who aren’t scientists and engineers to be logical.”
IMO, an Alpha Nerd fight over the minutia would be just as problematic. We need look no further than Pluto.
And, no matter what rules are chosen, the de facto rule will be: if you get there first, it’s yours. Not your country’s. Yours.
Ed, I doubt it. For the forseeable future, anyone who can take possession of something in outer space will have significant assets on Earth which will be vulnerable to at least one national government, and thus people will act in accord with some set of rules devised on Earth, even if they don’t already want to for better reasons.
Suppose Elon Musk realizes his dream and lands on Mars and builds his retirement cave there. Who is going to enforce American law out there?. The US can’t claim the land he lands on, and he can’t claim it for the US. Are they going to arrest him by 20 minute delay?
If the law cannot be enforced then it is de facto not the law.
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