Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Zhao Yun and Yu Jiaying on Legal Status of Lunar Stations (Journal of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Social Sciences Edition)

"Legal Status of Lunar Stations"
Zhao Yun and Yu Jiaying
Journal of Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Social Sciences Edition Vol.37 No.2 March 2024
Published online: February 2024

Abstract: Currently, lunar activities are entering a new phase - the planning and construction of lunar stations. However, the international law on lunar stationing activities needs to be further developed, while the legal status of lunar stations is the primary issue to be considered. Reflection on the legal status of lunar stations arises from the peculiarity of lunar station activities: they are carried out on celestial bodies, with the long-term objective of the sustainable development of human society, and they involve the use of a fixed area on the surface of a celestial body and create a de facto scope of activities. Lunar station activities in conformity with the Outer Space Treaty are categorized as free exploration and use of the Moon for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, without exclusive and permanent use of the lunar surface, and are open to other States on the basis of reciprocity. It is suggested that future ILRS activities can be conducted in either a “non-exclusive” or “temporary” manner to fulfill international legal obligations, and that the importance of “basis of reciprocity” and the scope of “visit” should be clarified. The following aspects of lunar stations need to be considered as specific factors in determining the legal status of the station: 1) the purpose and the size of the scope of a lunar station; 2) the mobility of a lunar station; 3) the duration of a lunar station; 4) the notification, update and sharing of lunar station information.

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