Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Commercial Space - Military Space
  Bigelow Aerospace wants property rights on moon

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Bigelow Aerospace wants property rights on moon
SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3107
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2013 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hotel tycoon Robert Bigelow wants to establish private property rights on the moon, CNBC reports.
Bigelow is applying to the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation to amend a 1967 international agreement on the moon so that a system of private property rights can be established there. "When there isn't law and order," he said, "there's chaos."

Bigelow said he believes the right to own what one discovers on the moon is the incentive needed for private enterprise to commit massive amounts of capital and risk lives. "It provides a foundational security to investors," he said.

Bigelow does not feel that any one nation should own the moon.

"No one 'anything' should own the moon," he said. "But, yes, multiple entities, groups, individuals, yes, they should have the opportunity to own the moon."

328KF
Member

Posts: 852
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-13-2013 05:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"The big danger here isn't a fear of private enterprise owning and maximizing profitable benefit from the moon," he said. "The big worry is America is asleep and does nothing, while China comes along, lands people on the Moon, and decides, 'We might as well start surveying and laying claim, because who is going to stop us?'"
I certainly agree with Bigelow's sentiments expressed in the article. It will be a sad day if some of the things he predicts come to pass.

But hey, maybe once the Chinese are all set up on the moon and have spent a few hundred billion dollars and decades of risky developmental work, the U.S. can come along and hitch a ride on their program.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28137
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2013 05:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am sure that Bigelow believes what he says, and I am sure there are others who believe similarly but just to put his warnings into perspective, this is not the first time Robert Bigelow has raised concerns about a threat from outsiders. From a 2010 interview with The New York Times:
I've been a researcher and student of U.F.O.’s for many, many years. Anybody that does research, if people bother to do quality research, come away absolutely convinced. You don’t have to have personal encounters.

People have been killed. People have been hurt. It's more than observational kind of data.

Maybe we need to protect the moon from UFOs, too.

328KF
Member

Posts: 852
From:
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 11-13-2013 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I suppose your intent, Robert, was to discredit Bigelow and his opinions. If he believes in UFO's, great. I don't think that has anything more to do with his opinions on China's space program than what kind of beer he drinks.

Is he eccentric? Maybe. Most people with great wealth that I have come across tend to lean toward the eccentric. Elon Musk certainly seems to be, as is Burt Rutan, and of course Sir Richard. All have highly sought after opinions on commercial spaceflight and have great accomplishments in the field.

In the current, and apparently worsening political environment here in the states, these folks with lots of money, interest, ability, and resources are going to be the most likely ones to lead us in a sustainable direction in space. At least somebody is looking at China, recognizing the reality, and speaking about it publicly.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28137
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-13-2013 09:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
I suppose your intent, Robert, was to discredit Bigelow and his opinions.

Not at all. When it comes to his commercial spaceflight plans, I have a good deal of respect for Bigelow. He had great foresight to continue NASA's development of inflatable modules, and he has been rightly tapped by the space agency to identify future commercial spaceflight opportunities.

But that said, his ability to assess foreign (terrestrial and extraterrestrial) threats is questionable, given his own past statements.

quote:
Originally posted by 328KF:
At least somebody is looking at China, recognizing the reality, and speaking about it publicly.
There are many people looking at China and many speaking about the nation's space ambitions publicly, but that doesn't mean all of them (or even most of them) are grounded in reality (and I would include China's own PR machine as part of that).

SkyMan1958
Member

Posts: 405
From: CA.
Registered: Jan 2011

posted 11-13-2013 11:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I might point out that China, being a veto wielding power at the UN, will have great clout in deciding whether private property will become legal on the Moon, or in the Solar System as a whole. Personally I think it is inevitable that private property rights will move out into the Solar System. Obviously the 3 Western veto powers will support it, and I can't imagine the kleptocracy known as Russia wouldn't support it. Given the PLA's business interests and it's intimate intertwining with the CCP I would assume China would also support some sort of private property rights too.

jtheoret
Member

Posts: 85
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-14-2013 10:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A property right or an interest in property does not necessarily mean "ownership," as in having an exclusive title. I for one would be very discouraged if private ownership extended to celestial bodies.

Humanity has already experienced the "first to plant a flag" colonialism mentality for the last five centuries or so. I think since we are a global society and capable of rationality that we would come up with something better.

I am sure there could be some kind of interest created that protects investment and risk without it constituting ownership. One can own a lease without owning title to the land itself. The question becomes who would be the lessor, who would the lessee pay?

I certainly could see a situation where a company pays a fee for the right to utilize the moon or any other body, the monies generated being used for global good — fund the UN, aid developing nations, develop other space infrastructures — whatever — but the "I got here first, it's mine" attitude has no place in space in my opinion.

Interesting discussion though, as an attorney in New Mexico with Spaceport America close by I have been looking into how I can incorporate "space law" into my practice. This is pie in the sky stuff compared to most commercial space concerns in the near term, but not too early to begin this kind of discussion.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3107
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-14-2013 11:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jtheoret:
I for one would be very discouraged if private ownership extended to celestial bodies.

Asteroids/minor planets are celestial bodies - some are small and will eventually be corralled/harvested in their entirety by private entities.

jtheoret
Member

Posts: 85
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-14-2013 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, that's true - though nothing has been established in terms of the legal right to do so. And for small asteroids at least, when the resources are used up, the celestial body will cease to exist. This is not the same as mining Helium 3 from the Moon, or putting a hotel up on the Moon or Mars though.

I fully support developing and utilizing space assets and resources, it's the first come first (and only) served mentality I object to, absent any mechanism for preventing exclusivity or allowing for the benefit of the home planet - who ever develops such enterprises should be rewarded for the investment and risk, but not exclusively. Some investment in the general well-being of the inhabitants of the Earth should be part of the legal framework that establishes the rights at issue. I think that's the best way to promote expansion and utilization of space assets and minimize potential conflict.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4286
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 11-14-2013 04:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
Asteroids/minor planets are celestial bodies - some are small and will eventually be corralled/harvested in their entirety by private entities.
Star Wars here we come!

More seriously, and where will the materials land? In the country where the company operates? In a fiscal haven? Who will guarantee the safety of import and then export of those materials?

Oh, and right, we can't lift our sorry little butts off the ground. Sure, China can, but with 1.3 billion mouths to feed (and counting), all this seems ridiculous at best.

p51
Member

Posts: 869
From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 11-14-2013 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I get that any commercial entity wants to protect their rights if they spend huge money to land on the Moon. I think it's fair that they should be able to bring back all the rocks and dirt they want. If they brought back Armstrong's helmet or boot covers, then, that's something else...

However, I have never understood why there's even an argument over different nations. So, a Chinese crew lands on the Moon and brings back rocks. Then, they show up on eBay, sold by someone legally within Chinese law. Will NASA or the US Government lay claim to them as they always have for all non-meteorite Moon debris? They can right now because nobody else has gone there to bring anything back. And who'd make a legal case otherwise?

"No fair, Mister speaker, we can't have these ESA and Chinese upstarts going up there and hawking pieces of 'our' Moon! You gotta do something to keep this from happening! We can't have our citizens just randomly buying Moon rocks from another country, we've worked really hard to keep these rocks out of the hands of our citizens!"

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28137
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-14-2013 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by p51:
Will NASA or the US Government lay claim to them as they always have for all non-meteorite Moon debris?
NASA, on behalf of the federal government, only makes claim to U.S. government returned lunar material. The 842 pounds of moon rocks and dust returned by Apollo is considered a National Treasure, the property of the American public as a whole.

The U.S. space agency has never laid claim to all moon rocks or dust, including the 0.7 pounds of moon rocks and soil returned by the Soviet Luna robotic missions.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28137
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-14-2013 05:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
More seriously, and where will the materials land?
You shouldn't assume the material will return to Earth.

The space mining companies that exist today (Planetary Resources, Deep Space Industries) are planning to collect, refine and make available space-based resources for use in space, to further exploration and settlement of the solar system.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 28137
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-14-2013 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jtheoret:
Some investment in the general well-being of the inhabitants of the Earth should be part of the legal framework that establishes the rights at issue.
Why must the company benefit life on Earth? What about benefiting life off Earth? If a space mining company can facilitate a moon or Mars base, for example, isn't that a worthy enough endeavor?

With regards to first come, first claim, the way I have heard it proposed (based on terrestrial precedence), the claimant would need to demonstrate use of the property to defend any ongoing rights to it.

As the first real world example of this, Richard Garriott has suggested he might be able to lay claim to the lunar land under Lunokhod 2. He bought the rover in 1993. His use claim? A parking spot.

jtheoret
Member

Posts: 85
From: Albuquerque, NM USA
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-15-2013 01:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jtheoret   Click Here to Email jtheoret     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes Robert, when I suggested benefitting the inhabitants of Earth I envisioned that could mean off worlders too - it makes perfect sense to build infrastructure in space using some of the profits of proceeds from space. I know taxes is a dirty word to some, but it is humanity that is moving to the stars and thus my personal feeling is that those who profit from the resources of space have some responsibility to contribute something back.

One thing I haven't heard any discussion on is what happens to the market if and when a glut or rare materials start to come back to Earth? Will a company be able to flood the market and send it crashing or will some entity impose limits on how much can be imported back to Earth? The economies of Europe tanked when Spain flooded Europe with cheap silver in the 16th Century.

Gonzo
Member

Posts: 431
From: Lansing, MI, USA
Registered: Mar 2012

posted 11-15-2013 03:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gonzo   Click Here to Email Gonzo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, here's a crazy thought. We are in the midst of the beginnings of the "United Federation of Planets!"

Seriously though, think about it. Villages and towns govern their communities. Counties govern their counties. States set rules for their state. Various countries govern their own countries. The UN governs agreements between countries. Now extend that logic to off-world enterprise. Is it not logical (sorry Spock) that there be a new organization to govern agreements and set law for off-world enterprises? It is obviously out of context for the UN. After all, the UN is the United NATIONS. We don't have nations on space!

You could argue that unless there are off-world beings (aliens by our current definition) encountered, all the law needed would be based here on Earth. However, looking to the future, what do you do with the inevitable of off-world born human citizens? Do they have Earth citizenship? And if so, to what country? One of the simple things about US citizenship is that if you are born in the US you are automatically a US citizen. What happens when we have our first off-world born human? Where do they get citizenship? Sure to start, they would be citizens of the country that put their parents there. Now again, extend that to where we have permanent colonies in space. Where would those new born citizens get citizenship? Would they not be citizens of space? I think it's time to reconsider the implications of citizenship to a single country...

We are at the cusp of some difficult and troubling legal matters my friends!

(OK, back to Earth now... )

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement