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Moon: Interview with the head of ESA July 20, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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This in Scientific American this last month, an interview with Jan Worner, ESA director general had me thinking. He said that he ‘hope[d moon bases] … would not be like in the old time, going West and staking our claim. I hope we will not have fences on the surface of the Moon.’

I’d never thought about it quite that way, the idea that one might enclose a portion of the lunar surface. And yet, why not, fences and walls are ubiquitous on this planet, why wouldn’t that impulse not be carried to other places in the solar system. And yet I think his inclination is correct.

Worse, the law on the issue seems unclear. The Outer Space Treaty, signed by the US, UK and the USSR in 1967, and now co-signed by 104 other states, agrees that ‘no one can claim territory on a celestial body’ but this is cut across by two ‘noninterference clauses’, which says landing on others probes or craft or outposts isn’t permissible for fear of damaging them which – naturally opens up the prospect of those being used for cover by those who land at, as Scientific American puts it ‘a desirable spot simply by arriving their first’. Given the growing number of entities, both state and private, who appear geared to landing there.

Worth keeping in mind the total area of the Moon is equivalent to Africa – but… as SA notes resources aren’t distributed evenly (and there’s a different argument about how much interference there should even be in regard to the Moon).

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