The Battle For The Moon Begins.
The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, better known as the Moon Treaty or Moon Agreement, is an international treaty that turns jurisdiction of all celestial bodies (including the orbits around such bodies) over to the international community. Thus, all activities must conform to international law, including the United Nations Charter. In practice it is a failed treaty because it has not been ratified by any state that engages in self-launched manned space exploration or has plans to do so (e.g. the United States, the larger part of the member states of the European Space Agency, Russia, People’s Republic of China, Japan, and India) since its creation in 1979, and thus has a negligible effect on actual spaceflight. As of November 2016, it has been ratified by 17 states, but none of the above-mentioned states ratified it. The objection to the treaty by the spacefaring nations is held to be the requirement that extracted resources (and the technology used to that end) must be shared with other nations. The treaty makes a declaration that the Moon should be used for the benefit of all states and all peoples of the international community. It also expresses a desire to prevent the Moon from becoming a source of international conflict. To those ends the treaty does the following:
- Bans any military use of celestial bodies, including weapon testing or as military bases.
- Bans all exploration and uses of celestial bodies without the approval or benefit of other states under the common heritage of mankind principle (article 11).
- Requires that the Secretary-General must be notified of all celestial activities (and discoveries developed thanks to those activities).
- Declares all states have an equal right to conduct research on celestial bodies.
- Declares that for any samples obtained during research activities, the state that obtained them must consider making part of it available to all countries/scientific communities for research.
- Bans altering the environment of celestial bodies and requires that states must take measures to prevent accidental contamination.
- Bans any state from claiming sovereignty over any territory of celestial bodies.
- Bans any ownership of any extraterrestrial property by any organization or person, unless that organization is international and governmental.
- Requires an international regime be set up to ensure safe and orderly development and management of the resources and sharing of the benefits from them.
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