This new province of humankind is closer than ever. The Outer Space Treaty (OST) continues to provide the foundations for our activities in outer space. General guidance must now become specific, and we must figure out those specifics with diverse voices, together.
Last week, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine made a crucial announcement: NASA will commercially procure extracted resources at the Moon. In the public announcement, he also made it clear that “what we’re trying to do is make sure that there is a norm of behavior that resources can be extracted, and that we’re doing it in a way that is in compliance with the Outer Space Treaty.”
States and the international community can contribute to lunar development through clarifying which matters of resource management need universal agreement, while endorsing specific domains in which bottom up coordination and plural approaches will be recognized. Framing which issues are tackled where will enable actors to coordinate more effectively, within clear boundaries.
See the PDF for the 3 pages of policy recommendations, and a cover letter from Chris Hadfield.