The Future of The COSPAR Planetary Protection Guidelines: Space Governance and Astrobiology

Steele, Scott (2023). The Future of The COSPAR Planetary Protection Guidelines: Space Governance and Astrobiology. PhD thesis The Open University.



The developing of questions of Outer Space has only been greatly enhanced by the increase of technology and greater involvement by states, private actors and people seeking to use space above the typical uses i.e., satellites. Such an approach has carried on the original views of space delivered by the Apollo programme, which has inspired entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, and lawyers to challenge and develop hypothetical opinions and business strategy. Nevertheless, outer space is a free for all without jurisdiction. This thesis will consider both the future of space governance and the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) planetary protection policy.
The uptake of scientific missions through the solar system has formed an enhanced interest as more than ever space exploration is pushing the boundaries are political and legal certainty. The Outer Space Treaty presents a number of fundamental and core elements within space and promotes cooperation through the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS). As such the future of space governance will be considered as to whether the current practice is “fit for purpose”, or whether a new governance regime should be considered for the benefit of space cooperation. Moreover, appropriate discussions around the understanding of astrobiology and how such a road map sets out the need for a planetary protection resource during exploration of space will be examined in detail. COSPARs planetary protection policy will be examined in order to be able to justify whether there is any legal basis for such an implementation or whether the policy remains a recommendation.

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