Astronomer Vladislav Shevchenko: «I Want the moon – Kopi money on lawyers»

Vladislav ShevchenkoAstronomer Vladislav Shevchenko: «I Want the moon – Kopi money on lawyers»

Recently, us Senator Ted Cruz suggested that «commercialize» the outer space Treaty of 1967. In his opinion, this must change in such a way to allow full commercial exploitation of space and continued to perform its political functions to limit the spread of weapons in space. To comment on this statement we asked the head of the research Department of the moon and the planets of the State astronomical Institute named after P. K. Sternberg, Moscow state University, doctor of physical and mathematical Sciences Vladislav Vladimirovich Shevchenko.

 Vladislav Vladimirovich, tells us that international legislation regarding the moon and other planets?
— The development of space law was originally associated with the exploration of the moon, the construction of inhabited bases there and mining. In 1968, one of my first works were devoted to this issue and was called «problems of a manned base on the moon.»

We often hear that the 1967 Treaty does not meet the requirements of modernity and inhibit commercial development of space. For traders maybe the brake is, and how it interferes with technical development of space exploration?
— Not being privy to the legal details of space law, after the flight of spacecraft «Apollo» I often asked my American colleagues in the Space center Johnson in Houston seemingly simple questions. Why, having achieved great technical success with single flights, they do not go further in creating a lunar base, why not start work on the extraction of lunar resources? Colleagues reluctantly replied that in their proposal, the lawyers always vetoed. In a more simple way, it was: Yes, technically we can develop lunar resources, which, of course, will cost very expensive, but economically viable. But now, imagine that we deliver to the Ground commercially meaningful quantities of precious metals (it was already known about the rare metals on the moon), but there will come representatives of a small state, took no part in the industrial development of the moon, but signed the Treaty in 1967, and quite legally require their fair share. This was the reason for the administrative veto.

To me he says, «You don’t think I’m a weirdo, I want to create a legal precedent and open the way to space to private capital for the common good! That is the idea!»
A «hole» left by lawyers for private owners, began to use the entrepreneurs of a different kind. Formed company, who are selling land on the moon!
It turns out, today’s space law leaves loopholes for scoundrels?
— Several years ago, a very respectable trading firm after much persuasion, invited me to a solemn act of promotion the most successful of its employees by presenting them in the property area of the lunar surface. At first I was almost offended, but then changed his mind and came to the ceremony.During it I showed everyone the future owner his moon plot, told how much is collected from this site is cobalt or Nickel and other valuable metals.
All were happy, and I advised the owners in advance to start saving significant amounts of money. They thought the funds they need to export their wealth from the moon. But in the end, I had to disappoint a potential lucky: back to the harsh reality, I said that all clusters will have to spend on lawyers who agree to prove the legal right of everyone to their lunar property!

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