Space Resources Extraction: The Case for a Moratorium

Naysmith, Fiona (2023). Space Resources Extraction: The Case for a Moratorium. Postgraduate Research Poster Competition, The Open University.


Space law is in a state of interregnum between legal regimes. Initiation of new customs and practices, unique interpretations of the Outer Space Treaty 1967, national space legislation, and bilateral agreements, such as the Artemis Accords, are being used to sidestep the previous practice and interpretation of the foundational Outer Space Treaty regime. This risks permitting the consequences of irreversible and damaging activities in Outer Space, such as resources extraction and asset-defending militarism.

The international community needs unpressured opportunity to arrive at an effective and equitable new space law regime. One that is capable of managing disruptive space technologies. An enforceable moratorium on potentially harmful space activities, such as resource extraction, is essential. Without this pause, humanity faces the imposition of space management regimes founded upon assumptions of a market-driven space economy, without minimum core protection of collective ideals ranging from environmental protections to benefit distribution measures.

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