Re: SPACE: Property Claims and Sea Launching

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 01 Mar 1998 11:46:09 -0500

GBurch1 wrote:

> The subject of first or at least early space colonies has developed out of the
> ocean enclave thread, with two basic issues being discussed: 1) how
> will/should the first space colonies be built 2) claiming of property off
> Earth and 3) where should they be situated. (I leave the last subject for
> another post.)

The reason why I think developing sea based enclaves now is a good idea is that it
is an excellent and low cost test bed/training center for long term
habitation/colonization in space. For example the figures I beleive that John
Clark contributed of supertanker costs indicates that these are relatively cheap.
A couple tens of millions for a whole supertanker? wow. A freind of mine built a
custom sailboat in Seattle for $5 mill (125 feet). The Artemis Project, on the
other hand, which proposes sending a couple people to the moon to build a small
shack sized hut, plans on spending $1.5 billion.

> In a message dated 98-02-28 09:35:34 EST, den Otter wrote:
> > Why, yes, of course! Let's build a *spaceship*, fly to Mars and just claim
> the
> > whole damn planet. Off you go! Mmm, you'd probably still need some kind
> > of island as a launch base of course...A new focus for the transhuman
> effort?
> Even tongue in cheek, there are a couple of basic questions here: "Claiming"
> extraterrestrial territory or resources and what sort of launching platform,
> physical and otherwise, would be needed here on Earth for such an enterprise.
> As to "claiming" things off Earth, the only certain legal regime at this time
> is the UN Outer Space Treaty, which clearly prohibits claims of sovereignty
> over the territory in or zones of space. This primary function of the UNOST
> is an artifact of Cold War rivalry but, in the mid- to long-term may well be
> one of the most important legacies of that period, keeping terrestrial nation
> states out of the business of legislating off Earth as much as we could hope
> for had we set up the legal regime ourselves.
> The treaty also provides for the possibility of private ownership of resources
> "extracted from" extraterrestrial objects, but makes no provision for private
> territorial property. If you're interested in these subjects, a good overview
> of BASIC space law can be found in:

However, since the US never signed or ratified this treaty, then any operations
originating from the US are not bound by this treaty. This includes any launches
originating from ANY U.S. posession, like the Marianas Islands, Puerto Rico, etc.
Even if you launch from another site, if you 'reflag' once you get into space,
then you are sitting happy. In any event, its not like the UN has any space
capability of its own. How can you enforce a law when you have no means of
enforcement? As recent events indicate, enforcement of UN 'laws' only occurs when
the US indicates a willingness to bomb somebody. Since its not in the US's
interest to enforce this particular treaty, then I doubt very much that it has any
hope of ever gaining any teeth.


   Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------ Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?