Implications Of The Space Agreement (A Critique Of The Statement Of The American President To Exploit Space Resources)

By: Athari Farhani, S.H.

THE statement of US President Donald Trump, who has signed an agreement that America will explore natural resources in space, one of which on the moon reminds the writer of a sentence that was made by Tsiolkovski Mr. Russian rocket who said that “Earth is the cradle of humans but we cannot stay continuously in the cradle”.

This was reinforced by the American space scientist Krafft Ehricke in his thesis on the industrialization of the moon which states that “a stage of exploitation of natural resources on the earth’s satellites which in its opinion reduces the anxiety of the earth’s population due to the limitations of planetary natural resources.

Such anxiety reflects the opinions of followers of the limits to growth theory. Must move towards the threshold of exploitation of the moon. “In principle, technological progress has made it possible to expand state activities to other regions.

When humans began to explore space, legal experts immediately moved to avoid the legal vacuum. So that formed the Space Treaty 1967 and other rules.

But the Moon Treaty 1979 seems to have been interpreted by Americans differently and contradicting, one of which was interpreting Article XI of the treaty.

This Article contains the determination of the moon and the natural resources it contains as a common heritage of mankind. America does not hesitate to show the agreement as opposed to its national interests. Not only that the Space Treaty 1967 which regulates the issue of peaceful space use as well as freedom of exploration and use for the benefit and interests of all countries seems interpreted differently for the Superpower.

However, if examined further the background of the formation of the space agreement then we increasingly realize that the space agreement device is an accommodation that gives space to superpower countries such as the United States and Russia in continuing their efforts by making space a new arena for military confrontation later day.

Even a professor of international law and space law from McGill University, Vlasic, said that “if the majority of countries knew from the beginning that instruments in the field of space law could be a means of freedom of superpower militarizing space whether they included their signatures on instruments that?” (Vlasic, Disarmament Decade, Outer Space and International Law, McGill Law Journal, Vol. 26 1981). And likewise if it is carefully understood how the contents of the space treaty 1967 and the Moon Agreement 1979 open many broad interpretations and may even be different.

This is what ultimately makes America or even the Soviet Union often go hand in hand when there is a tendency in which the international world takes part in setting a normative framework that can reduce the work of two superpowers in the space field.

Included in the concept of the shared heritage of mankind is clearly stated in Article XI of the lunar agreement which reads “The moon and its natural resources are the joint heritage of mankind”.

When legal experts from several countries agree that the moon cannot be the object of the power of a country and the natural resources and wealth produced by the moon are shared assets of mankind, including when a country undertakes commercial activities or exploitation beyond scientific or research purposes, it must wait for the formation of an international regime.

But the concept of joint humanity’s inheritance with the interpretation of some third-world jurists as stipulated in the moon agreement is a form of the tendency that is not favored by the two superpowers.

It is undeniable that space is now the object of more attention for developed countries. The location of space far from the earth’s land does not prevent humans from carrying out activities that can provide the benefit of multiple interests. Even industrialized countries cannot deny the truth of the “Outer space is a waste of the taxpayer’s money” syndicate (regarding this satire can be seen in Edward R. Finch and Amanda L. Moore, Astro business: A Guide to the Commerce and Law of Outer Space, Interstate Book Manufacturers, 1984, p. XVI). Commercial activities include a variety of activities related to space to obtain economic benefits.

The forms of activities such as communication, remote sensing, space transportation systems, materials processing (manufacturing), power generation also mining, (Nathan C, Goldman, Space Commerce, Ballinger Publishing Company, Cambridge, 1985). Even in the Journal entitled The New World Satellite Order by Gregory C. Staple, in 1985 American income derived from satellite television programs amounted to nearly four billion dollars, a figure that can be said to be very large when compared to all the world’s investment in satellite systems. Amount to only about twenty billion dollars.

The depletion of reserves of natural resources on earth, making a superpower like America eager to explore and exploit the resources in space, especially the Moon. In connection with that, of course the possibility of pollution and environmental damage will occur on the moon and other celestial bodies due to exploration.

In Article 7 paragraph 1 of Moon Agreement 1979 which is a further elaboration of Article IX of the Space Treaty 1967 clearly states that “In Exploring and using the moon, States Parties shall take measures to prevent the disruption of the existing balance of its environment, whether by introducing adverse changes in the environment, by its harmful contamination through the introduction of extra-environmental matter of otherwise.

States Parties shall also take measures to avoid harmfully affecting the environment of the earth through the introduction of extraterrestrial matter or otherwise “The meaning of the Article stipulates that member countries of the moon agreement are requested not to damage and contaminate in the exploration and use of the moon.

In fact law cannot rule out the fact that between countries there are differences in the potential of scientific knowledge, economics, and space technology. But it is clear that the purpose of making the rules has been mutually agreed upon namely to ensure that no country will be selfish even though it has a special level.

As stated by Priyatna Abdurrasyid that “Even though the use of space is limited to several large countries and several other countries have conducted investigations in certain parts. But the rights of other countries must still be guaranteed”.

But if America’s exploration and exploitation continue to be carried out on the grounds that space is free to be explored, then what about other countries, especially developing countries? Isn’t space resources a shared heritage of mankind (heritage of mankind)? Is not the space space activity used for the benefit of all nations, not just one nation or country? Such a question certainly must be answered with certainty before the possibilities of the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in space in that month occur.

Countries that have signed international treaties regarding space space both the Space Treaty 1967, Moon Agreement 1979, and other agreements need to conduct a moratorium on each country’s individual activities to exploit natural resources in space. At least renew the increasingly obsolete treaties, which during this time still contain many different interpretations from each country.

The most impact is felt by developing countries so that all developing countries must have thought of all the possibilities that will occur when developed countries first have a space technology sphere that is so sophisticated in exploring and exploiting space resources.

All countries must be able to seek a strong reaction to demand economic aspirations that are based on principles of justice, equality, and fundamental freedoms.

*The Author is a graduate of the Faculty of Law  University of Muhammadiyah Jakarta and an interest in Constitutional Law and Space Law.

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