The Antarctic and Outer Space Treaties after the Cold War: Are They Still Valid?

Interesting perspective on the Antarctic and and Outer Space Treaty from Roger Launius’s Blog

Roger Launius's Blog

Artist’s conception of lunar mining, after 2020, artwork by Pat Rawlings. Many believe that the resource rich Moon may one day sustain human efforts to remain in space indefinitely. Artist’s conception of lunar mining, after 2020, artwork by Pat Rawlings. Many believe that the resource rich Moon may one day sustain human efforts to remain in space indefinitely.

The two separate treaty regimes—The Antarctic Treaty of 1960 and the Outer Space Treaty of 1967—worked relatively well in the context of the Cold War environment between World War II and about 1990. The sudden collapse of the Soviet Union, however, changed the dynamics of geopolitics and brought changes in the manner in which the nations of the world have dealt with both Antarctica and outer space. Both treaty regimes have clear statements about prohibitions, guidelines, and objectives that served well for many years, but their place in a non-Cold War era has eroded.

Overall the evolution of policies and law governing these regions has reflected the influence of the science community on the political leadership in concert with geopolitical motivations…

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