Avoiding Extraterrestrial Claim Jumping: Economic Development Policy for Space Exploration and Exploitation
James F. Reilly, II, 2013. "Avoiding Extraterrestrial Claim Jumping: Economic Development Policy for Space Exploration and Exploitation", Energy Resources for Human Settlement in the Solar System and Earth’s Future in Space, William A. Ambrose, James F. Reilly, II, Douglas C. Peters
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Any frontier exploration effort transitions eventually to an exploitation phase. Exploitation can be research or economic in nature. In either case, a regulatory framework is required to coordinate and govern any activity in the new realm. The Earth orbital regime has entered the exploitation phase with the advent of a permanent research facility in the form of the International Space Station (ISS) and increasing activity in the private sector. The lunar regime and perhaps near-Earth asteroids will be potentially entering the exploitation phase within the next two decades. A regulatory structure in the form of an international agreement using elements similar to the Antarctic Treaty and the Intergovernmental Agreement for the ISS may be used as an example of a potential regulatory structure for the exploitation of the extraterrestrial environment. Inevitably, economic development will follow the research phase if not specifically prohibited in any future treaties or agreements. To manage these activities, an organization similar to the World Trade Organization could form the basis of a management body for economic activities.