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Which Legal Jurisdiction Does The Space And Celestial Objects Belong To?

First Posted: Jan 24, 2017 02:40 AM EST

Space technology has made immense progress in the past few years and it is not just limited to landing on the Moon. Space agencies and companies have and will try to explore other celestial objects including planets like Mars, Venus and Saturn and their moons. The most recent and groundbreaking concept of mining the Moon and nearby asteroids have raised the need of formulation of a set of laws, which need to be followed while planning and accomplishing such space activities, whose consequences both good and bad will affect the entire human population.

Barack Obama, previous president of the United States, initiated and signed the SPACE Act in 2015, which legalized private property ownership of space resources and their utilization by American astronauts. However, similar laws have not been implemented in other countries, The Space Review reported.

In such cases, government organizations and privatized companies need an expert or "space lawyer" who can look after the legal issue involved in future space launches. In addition, the space lawyer will also play a major role in contributing to the furtherance of space research and exploration activities by drawing the attention of the space agency towards recent developments and innovations in the space technology.

Sireesh Pallikonda, space lawyer and facilitator for ISRO and the CEO of Marici Space, plays that role for Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO), Deccan Chronicle reported.

Sireesh Pallikonda tried to explain the importance of such space laws by saying, "There is an outer space treaty on principles governing the activities of countries in the exploration and use of outer space, which includes space and other celestial bodies."

Sireesh Pallikonda further explained by giving an example of a hypothetical incident in which two different countries have launched their satellites into the outer space. In case the satellites meet with any accident in the space, then its outcomes will not only affect those two nations. Rather, the debris generated will also affect the functioning and safety of other satellites, too.

Sireesh Pallikonda added that, "In this scenario, the country that should be liable for all the damage is determined by space law. However, this is just one scenario; there are various other things that the law takes care of."

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