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Browsing by Author "Ilia, Eleni"

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  • Ilia, Eleni (2021)
    The emergence of a new wave of private companies and entrepreneurs who are entering the space industry, colloquially known as New Space, is challenging the traditional model of space exploration and exploitation and has brought with it a multitude of new opportunities and challenges, particularly in the realm of space mining. With the increasing interest in the extraction of valuable resources from celestial bodies such as the Moon, questions surrounding the legal status of the celestial bodies have become more pressing than ever before. This master’s thesis seeks to explore the legal status of the Moon in light of the emerging activities of New Space, specifically with regards to space mining. The thesis begins by providing a historical overview of the legal framework that currently governs outer space, focusing on the the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Moon Agreement of 1979, as well as the discussions before and after the conclusion of these international agreements. It also examines the various proposals and debates surrounding the legal status of the Moon, including the concept of “common heritage of mankind.” Next, the thesis delves into current state practice embedded in recent national laws and policies that permit space mining, exploring the various legal frameworks that have been proposed or put into practice by governments. This includes a detailed analysis of the legal challenges facing space mining, such as the lack of clear property rights and the potential for conflict between different actors. Finally, the thesis explores some (existing yet marginalised) alternative ways to think vis-à-vis outer space and the celestial bodies at the age of New Space, by highlighting the need for continued collaboration and dialogue between international actors, as well as the importance of clear and comprehensive legal frameworks that define the legal status of the Moon for a peaceful and sustainable future for extraterrestrial activities.