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Thread: Claiming Mars

  1. #1
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    Claiming Mars

    I was reading along in the Space X thread and just about the time I ran into the following
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Maybe a discussion of Mars vs. Lunar colonization is better done in another thread.
    I was wondering aloud, can't the first person to land on Mars claim it?

    Also is there a thread where the "Mars vs. Lunar colonization" continued?

    I don't expect an answer, since it's totally new territory. But if you are the only one that can actually get to another planet, you kind of own it anyhow.

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    In order to claim a planet one would have to defend it from invaders, that should be an interesting feat. Perhaps this type of "property staking" will play out on a smaller scale once the corporate world starts to stake claim of asteroids which they plan on mining?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gigabyte View Post
    I was wondering aloud, can't the first person to land on Mars claim it?
    The Outer Space Treaty, of which the US and 110 other countries are signatories, forbids any government from claiming a planet. wikipedia

    I assume you will next ask about an individual or a company. I'm not an attorney, but it apparently also states this:
    Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty deals with international responsibility, stating that "the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty" and that States Parties shall bear international responsibility for national space activities whether carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities.
    That sounds to me that non-governmental entities are restricting from doing so.

    The wikipedia article has a bunch of further discussion, including about commercial activities, but also points out the treaty is primarily an arms-control treaty.
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    This reminds me, what ever happened to that guy, a few years ago tried to sue NASA for landing on Eros? Because that was his astroid.

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    Anybody can claim to own something. There was an Emperor of The United States, after all. The question is, can you hold what you claim? That's why we have legal treaties and nations in the first place, to show who holds what properties.

    Will the humans who eventually inhabit Mars actually obey the OST? In practice, as with most human activities, there will probably be a series of compromises and disagreements. And by the time permanent autonomous communities live there --whenever that is-- the Treaty will no doubt have evolved into something completely different.

    One thing's for sure, the long distance and travel time will make enforcing Earth's decisions on a Mars colony almost impossible. Whatever decisions made will have to be made locally, and the consequences dealt with locally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Anybody can claim to own something. There was an Emperor of The United States, after all. The question is, can you hold what you claim? That's why we have legal treaties and nations in the first place, to show who holds what properties.

    Will the humans who eventually inhabit Mars actually obey the OST? In practice, as with most human activities, there will probably be a series of compromises and disagreements. And by the time permanent autonomous communities live there --whenever that is-- the Treaty will no doubt have evolved into something completely different.

    One thing's for sure, the long distance and travel time will make enforcing Earth's decisions on a Mars colony almost impossible. Whatever decisions made will have to be made locally, and the consequences dealt with locally.
    I've often wondered about that. Obviously, you can own the facility on the surface of a planet, but not the planet itself. I think the trick comes to in-situ resource utilization. There would probably be zero capacity to remove materials from a body for transport back to Earth for a good long time. You can rest easy in that fact that you aren't bothering people because you aren't taking anything significant home.

    The next step is sample return where they do return material to Earth for research or educational purposes on a routine basis. Then people want a piece of the pie. Since that is educational in nature, it's not too much of a bother. That almost happened on the Moon. "Sporadic" would probably be a better word for lunar sample returns. A good number of nations and organizations received access to the material from the moon and that material was better measured in grams or kilograms than tons. That didn't alarm people too much. Too bad it stopped, because more material would answer more questions. (China has a sample return about fly to the moon, but I am not entirely sure of the mission timeline.)

    Once you start making Ioian Lava Lamps with real Ioian Lava, then you're going to have problem. Because that's industry and advantage. I don't expect that to happen any time soon.
    Solfe

  7. #7
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    Claiming Mars

    Nations are established when other nations recognize them as such; e.g. the United States and France (and especially England). Today national recognition is mostly through the UN. We should probably expect a similar process when colonizing other worlds (and yes, Iíve been reading The Expanse a fair bit lately.)
    Last edited by schlaugh; 2021-May-26 at 01:46 AM.

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    Random trivia: natio was a word for colleagues at other colleges.

    Back to the discussion at hand. If you build a base on Mars, you don't have standing to claim the whole planet. A 110 countries agree on that. Where it becomes weird is if you build an autonomous base on another body. If the base doesn't need the founding party, could it, would it be a nation with no connection to any currently existing Earthly group or party? Autonomy is one of the basic ideas behind countries, nations, organizations, group, business, etc. You need autonomy to be one of those things, which is why there isn't a Solfeland.

    Another random bit of trivia. Disney World is an autonomous community which has the structure of a municipality. So, it's a town or city in and of itself. As an outsider, it appears they operate more like a county than town, but town is pretty close. The idea was to have Epcot as a city but that wasn't remotely what happened.

    I would imagine that the 110 countries that agreed to the Outer Space Treaty would suddenly have a good reason to sit down and change the wording of the treaty if it started to look like a base or site was moving towards autonomy. It doesn't seem terribly improbable that they might want to shift to a "function, purpose or use" definition rather what it currently is. I cannot think of any scenario where this would become critical any time soon. The primary concern would be safety or control issue rather than any sort of nation building exercise.

    Safety and control are kind of important for resource utilization which comes before any kind of autonomy. Look what Ever Given did to the world. It really doesn't matter that someone owns the canal. One relatively simple, easy to understand mishap by an end user cause a world of hurt. Imagine that sort of problem in a place full of hazards and no air. That's one heck of disaster movie. (Or the plot of The Martian.)

    I'm a history major and social studies buff, so all of this seems fun to me. I'm not seriously proposing anything and I'm not even remotely an expert on anything outside colonial Latin America.
    Solfe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Superluminal View Post
    This reminds me, what ever happened to that guy, a few years ago tried to sue NASA for landing on Eros? Because that was his astroid.
    Here is a link.

    https://www.xplorationstation.com/st...n-His-Asteroid

    Supposedly dismissed for lack of standing. Although that explanation comes from the plaintiff himself, who may or may not be reporting accurately.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21st Century Schizoid Man View Post
    Here is a link.

    https://www.xplorationstation.com/st...n-His-Asteroid

    Supposedly dismissed for lack of standing. Although that explanation comes from the plaintiff himself, who may or may not be reporting accurately.
    I think that would be a logical outcome. One of the important issues in a lawsuit is standing: if you canít show that you will be harmed by the outcome, the court will dismiss the case without considering the actual merits of your argument.


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solfe View Post
    I think the trick comes to in-situ resource utilization. There would probably be zero capacity to remove materials from a body for transport back to Earth for a good long time. You can rest easy in that fact that you aren't bothering people because you aren't taking anything significant home.
    ISRU is to benefit space based industries and settlers. A Mars based community would not be shipping materials to Earth. They'd be using it to build their world; shelter, power, air, food, water, and machines to make sure the former items keep flowing.

    Transporting materials from planet's surface to planet's surface is a major cost. That's why we want ISRU in the first place. Why would you accrue that cost a second time if you didn't have an absolute need to? Mars to Earth ain't much cheaper than Earth to Mars. Materials sent from Mars would be significantly more expensive here than mined on Earth.
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