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Published:October 2000
  • Virgiliu Pop
Origin:IISL-00-IISL.4.11. Paper presented at the 43rd Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space, 51st International Astronautical Congress, Rio de Janeiro, 6 October 2000, Proceedings of the 43rd Colloquium on the Law of Outer Space, pp. 335-345.
Abstract:This paper analyses the legality of Solar Power Satellites (SPS) and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions (PNE), as means for exploiting extraterrestrial natural resources, from the prospective of peaceful uses of outer space. The use of extraterrestrial natural resources for military purposes is also scrutinised. Envisioned as a means for the exploitation of solar energy in outer space, SPS may have military capabilities, varying from their use as electromagnetic weapons to their employment as anti ballistic missile systems and as means of hostile environmental modification. Their dimensions and location may raise on the other hand issues regarding their defence. In order to avoid both their use as means of warfare and their destruction, appropriate safeguards must be in place. Without these, it is unlikely that SPS systems will ever be operating. The exploitation of mineral resources on the moon, asteroids and other celestial bodies may see the need of employing PNE. These have fundamental legal implications in the light of the 1963 Moscow Treaty and of the CTBT Treaty. Finally, the exploitation of extraterrestrial mineral resources may raise a legal debate regarding their use for military purposes. This raises again the never-ending debate of the meaning of "peaceful", i.e. non-military or non-aggressive.
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