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Who owns Mars?

Assuming more than one country is involved with the mission that first lands on Mars, then how will the ownership of land be decided? Would Mars territory be treated as land in Antarctica in that it cannot be owned but merely maintained. What happens if a country capable of travel to Mars that also happens to have been denied membership into the ISS community decides to travel to Mars and claim plots of land as their own? Could we rightfully deny them their right to exploration simply because we don't trust their current motives? After all, if no one owns Mars then how could any one country dictate who has the right to claim ownership of a planet other than our own? Would embassies be necessary in such an environment?


Submitted by 2 years ago

Comments (8)

  1. I would like to imagine that eventually colony like settlements would arise from a constant influx of new corporations, private industries, and colonists.They may settle on different parts of the planet separated possibly by days or weeks worth of travel that may not be worth the effort. One also may ask if or once the new settlements start becoming interdependent will they want to be liberated from their earth counterparts?

    2 years ago
  2. I guess that any property claim is as good as the willingness of the rest of us to honor that claim. If any country (or private party) ever claims ownership on Mars territory it would be up to the rest of us to decide whether we would like to agree or just ignore the claim. I do not think many governments or just regular people would agree to honor such a claim.

    2 years ago
  3. At present no one, but once someone lays a claim, it's up to the international community to determine whether it is recognised. Most likely there will be the same issue as Antarctica, people will lay claim and large nations simply won't recognise it. I live in Australia, and we lay claim to a large amount of territory in Antarctica, but it is only recognised by a handful of nations (England, New Zealand and a few other European nations). Which is why it is full of Russian bases, they simply do not recognise our claim to the land and we lack the military or political influence to tell them no.

    Will be interesting to see if the Chinese try to claim the Moon at some point.

    2 years ago
  4. A nation owning Mars would be against current international law. But who is going to enforce that?

    Space law is governed by the legal sub-committee of the United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space. The fundamental principles of space law include; Prohibition of national appropriation of outer space and celestial bodies, equal rights for all States to free use of outer space, preservation of sovereign rights of States over the space objects launched by them, and collaboration of States with the aim of rendering assistance to the crews of space ships in emergencies.

    Current international space law is primarily focused on the exploration and use of outer space by nations. However, this would not seem to apply to a private entity like a corporation. Each nation regulates the activities of their own nation’s private sector in space (The Outer Space Treaty of 1967). The members of the United Nations Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space who developed these founding principles of space law could not have anticipated the societal changes related to spaceflight technology that have lead to the advanced capabilities of private human spaceflight which exist today.

    We should really do more to work with our fellow space faring nations to get these outdated international laws updated for the benefit of all of us.

    2 years ago
    1. vickery123 Idea Submitter

      Thank you for your informed response; I wasn't even aware that such laws and treaties existed. You make an excellent point about needing to amend these outdated laws. Perhaps we should pressure our congressional representatives to address these issues before serious talk is given to funding exploration of Mars. After all, those in charge of a nation's space budget would be more likely to loosen his or her grip on the money if they were assured that such an investment were backed and protected by the most current and up to date laws.

      2 years ago
  5. When the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the Moon, they planted a US flag but did not make any claims to the land, so I think the astronauts that are sent to Mars will probably do the same thing.

    2 years ago
  6. I personally have no problem with future Mar's settlements becoming independent colonies or recognized nations in their own right. Any human settlement on Mar's is going to be separate from those on Earth and will develop their own mode of operations and culture and following that course of logic, one day children will be born there. These wont be Earthling Humans but rather Martians and we, as a collective of many different nations and cultures have no choice but to hold Mar's in trust and maintain it for them until they are ready to inherit their world. Laying claim to it in any other way will only cause a repeat of events we have seen when any empire has tried to maintain control over distant colonies.

    2 years ago
  7. Mars is not owned by anyone but it will be shard by various scientific communities

    2 years ago

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