Fifty-two years in the past, the nations of the world sat right down to ratify the primary treaty that may govern the outer house. It was the peak of the Cold War, and though the area race was in full swing, it will nonetheless be two years earlier than the Apollo moon touchdown. Nuclear apocalypse appeared considerably extra probably than space settlement.
So, unsurprisingly, the 1967 U.N. Outer Space Treaty was primarily designed to do two issues: bar particular person nations from claiming sovereignty over celestial our bodies and bar anybody from placing nukes in space. Article II of the treaty said that “outer house, including the moon and different celestial bodies, will not be topic to nationwide appropriation.” It additionally established outer space as “the province of all mankind,” a spot each nation is free to discover and use in peace. Article IV prohibited countries from putting “objects carrying nuclear weapons or every other sort of weapons of mass destruction” in outer space.
As the Cold War turned down and the space race pale, we entered many years of relative inactivity when it got here to outer space. Now, that’s altering quickly. Climate change has renewed curiosity in our changing into a multiplanetary species. Space is now not the unique area of the Russians and Americans—the United Arab Emirates, China, India, Nigeria, and different countries now have space packages. And with the rise of corporations like SpaceX and Blue Origin, a personal area race is on, with plans for tourism, asteroid mining, and even off-Earth settlements. The world immediately realizes a reasonably unfortunate reality: Apart from policing the place we put our nukes and the place we plant our flags, the Outer Space Treaty doesn’t inform us a lot.