International Institute of Space Law


Exclusion or Sharing? An Article 11 Resource Agreement for the Moon Treaty

Authors Dennis O’Brien
Author's information

Dennis O’Brien
President, The Space Treaty Institute, Ukiah, CA/USA.
  • Abstract

      As accessing and developing outer space resources becomes more feasible, determining the status of those resources under international law and norms becomes more important. The oldest and most widely accepted binding international treaty is the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (OST). The most recent proposed norms are in the Artemis Accords (Accords), an inter-agency agreement adopted by the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its partners as part of the Artemis Moon program. This paper concludes that Article II of the OST creates a de jure common-pool resource of outer space and that all subsequent agreements and activities are subject to it. It further concludes that any act of exclusion, even for “safety zones”, violates Article II and defeats the common-pool resource. It further concludes that sharing access to resources will mitigate the exclusion, maintain the common-pool resource of outer space, and allow resource development activities, including the removal of materials in place (in situ). Finally, it will consider whether the Moon Treaty, with a possible implementation agreement, can enhance the development of outer space resources, including the building of permanent settlements.

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