14 thoughts on “Crime In Spaaaaaaace”

  1. The first crime in space should have to involve doing something that could only be done in space.

    Kind of curious what could actually fit that description. I’m not aware of any criminal code that has an entry ending with “while in orbit”. I guess illegally revealing secret information that could only have been obtained there might apply. “After observing the flooding from the dam breach conducted by the special operations team while operating covertly in the Sinai, subject then discussed it openly with Capcom over an unencrypted channel.”

    And as far as Ms. McClain’s sexual proclivities, I’m confident the NY Times wouldn’t have found the criminal complaint worthy of publication otherwise. It’s part of a trend I’ve noticed recently (not that that means it hasn’t been going on a long time and my Neanderthal brain just didn’t register it). An example is the coverage of the CapitalOne hacker. To my mind that story has been covered way more widely than if it had been a non-confused guy perp. It’s seen as an opportunity for the media to hammer home gender pronoun conformity and to reinforce the idea that womyn are capable of doing anything a man can, including crime.

    1. Thinking on it I guess certain types of assault might work. “Subject then threw the power supply at complainant, which resulted in facial lacerations and concussion. Subject claimed that he was aiming for the recycle bin and that under normal gravity the projectile would not have struck complainant.”

      1. “The prosecutor called as a witness the subject’s Mechanics professor, who testified that he had taught the behavior of cannonballs fired in Earth orbit.”

  2. Scenario 1: A person causes a piece of orbiting technology to de-orbit and follow a controlled trajectory to inflict damage or injury on a person on the ground, even if the perpetrator is also on the ground.

    Scenario 2: A person in a space habitat assaults another person in the same space habitat, using a mundane tool that could also be used to commit assault while on the ground.

    I’d be inclined to regard either of these as “space crime.” But I can see Rand’s point about this one. There’s nothing special (anymore) about being able to do things online while you’re in space.

  3. The criminal (maybe) act happened in space. Just because the possible victim was not in space shouldn’t disqualify it from being space crime.

    Is this even a crime though? Was there some hacking that took place or did the lady give the other lady her login information? Do the two have linked bank accounts to facilitate the transfer of funds?

    At lest this astronaut wasn’t traveling cross country in space diapers to abduct another astronaut who was sleeping with her astronaut boyfriend.

    1. It didn’t happen in space because she needed to be in space to do it. It happened in space because she happened to be in space when she did it. I don’t consider this a “space crime.”

      1. Enh, location is the important part.

        Earth perspective – Space Crime: A crime that happened in Space.

        Space perspective – Space Crime: Doesn’t exist. Its just crime. Earth Crime is a real problem, though.

        We have wild-land fires but fires can happen anywhere. The term is to differentiate the location where the events occur.

        I can see what you are getting at but I think our English traditions point the other way and that for crimes that could only happen in space, you would need a different term. I am not even certain that it could exist because the key part are humans. What could humans do in space that they couldn’t do someplace else? Rape, murder, theft, fraud, ect. The tools might change but the crimes remain the same. The only real difference is the location where the crimes occur.

  4. Back in the old days, they avoided this type of situation by not allowing bat-s**t crazy people to be astronauts.
    But I believe being in space at the time of the offense makes this a space crime. I recommend a venue of the ISS for the court proceedings.

  5. I think the real interesting part is potential jurisdictional issues for crimes in space. For this one, I’m guessing no big deal since the crime actually affected something on Earth, the ISS is arguably an extension of us territory, and Ms. McClane is either a government employee or active military (not sure which). If you removed all of those, for example, a murder takes place involving private citizens of two different countries on a privately owned Bigelow module, things might get thorny.

  6. “It is worth pointing out that [United States Space Guard] officers would be, like Coast Guardsmen, officers of the U.S. government capable of operating as a constabulary. This is in contrast to NASA personnel (who are only employees, not officers, of the government) and military personnel (who are forbidden under the Posse Comitatus Act from exercising police powers over civilians). To date, there have been no instances of needing to exercise police powers in space. However, as the number and duration of missions increase, this will inevitably change…” https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/proposing-a-coast-guard-for-space

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