by: the Common Constitutionalist
So who thinks this is a good idea? According to a Reuters report in the Daily Mail our United States government “has taken the first steps to licensing firms to mine the moon.”
Yes, “The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to ‘leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.’ The move would give firms exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.”
Bigelow has plans to set up inflatable habitats on the moon, and thanks to our benevolent FAA “expects to have exclusive rights to that territory.”
Yet apparently some, namely our State Department, are questioning the authority of the FAA to grant such rights, citing the 1967 United Nations Outer Space Treaty (UNOST).
However, the UNOST was crafted during both the space race and arms race, between America and the Soviet Union. It “limits the use of the moon and other celestial bodies to peaceful purposes and expressly prohibits their use for testing weapons of any kind, conducting military maneuvers, or establishing military bases, installations, and fortifications.”
Wikipedia explains that “The treaty explicitly forbids any government from claiming a celestial resource such as the moon or a planet, claiming that they are the common heritage of mankind. Article II of the Treaty states that ‘outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.’”
Judging by the language, those who crafted the Treaty didn’t have the foresight to envision private industry setting up shop on the moon. It repeatedly mentions States, governments and nations.
It is my opinion that neither our government nor the U.N. has any business trying to regulate space travel, trips to, or colonization of the moon. The fact that the FAA did or did not grant authority for Bigelow Aerospace to set up habitats on the moon is irrelevant. It shouldn’t have that authority.
This is real progress and I thought progressives in government were all about progress. I guess they are, but only if they have the ability to regulate it and of course tax it.
However, the American Spectator reports that the FAA “did go on, however, to note that the only reason they wouldn’t be taxing and regulating your moon base habitat is simply because they lack the infrastructure. Right now, the FAA can’t send people to the moon to see if what you’re doing falls within the bounds of American law.”
Reuters writes that the FAA now claims that “We didn’t give (Bigelow Aerospace) a license to land on the moon. We’re talking about a payload review that would potentially be part of a future launch license request.”
So now that this has gone public our FAA is backtracking and unilaterally concluding that it somehow has the authority to grant or deny a license to land on the moon.
This is a brave new world and if some private company has the wherewithal to go, is willing to take the risk; the government has no right to say otherwise. No earthly governmental body has, or should have, any potential claim on the moon or anything else beyond its boundaries.
It’s the height of arrogance and control, but what would one expect from our current government.