Asked by Conrad Tibbs
‘Finders, keepers’ has often been used in Earth-based exploration. The first person into a new territory often lays claim to it for himself or on behalf of a country. Methods like this have often been considered when discussing the Moon and other objects in our Solar System. These questions have become even more relevant with people looking at the possibility of harvesting the Moon or asteroids for resources.
Luckily these outcomes have been considered. Back in 1967 the ‘Outer Space Treaty’ was written and to date over 100 countries have signed it. This treaty looks to provide a simple legal framework to use regarding the space around Earth and the rest of the Solar System. Under this ‘Space law’, claiming of any region of space or celestial body – Moon, asteroid etc – is expressly forbidden, as is the use of these objects for any military purposes. Countries are also asked to be responsible for their actions, ensuring nothing they do threatens the peaceful exploration and operation in space of others.
Answered by Josh Barker, Education Team Presenter from the National Space Centre.
Image courtesy of NASA