Space remains the province of all humankind


Deminor Chief Investment Officer Charles Demoulin features in the Financial Times responding to Simon Morden's recent opinion piece.

Simon Morden raises important issues in his opinion piece “Without rules in space, humans will make the same mistakes” (September 28).

However, the prospects of being able to mine planets and other celestial bodies in the (distant) future are not the primary reason why we must urgently regulate all aspects related to the exploration, exploitation and use of outer space. The Kármán line (considered to be where space begins) is only 62 miles above our heads. Outer space starts in our backyard. And it is already getting quite crowded.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Morden considers the 1967 Outer Space Treaty to be a “relic” and he is probably right: it is no longer adapted to new realities and potentialities. The “comprehensive international agreement” he suggests certainly looks like an ideal solution but we have to wonder if it is feasible in the short term. In the meantime, actors of “new space” should be encouraged to voluntarily promote and comply with good standards and practices while investors could impose them as part of their investment policies.

This is also relevant for the business of insurance: the more chaotic outer space would become because of us, the more risky space activities will be and, as result, also more costly. “Space is hard” as John F Kennedy said. There is no point in making it any harder.

The only way upward is via the creation of a sustainable space economy in the interest of all, whether they are commercial enterprises or private individuals. There is therefore one of the provisions within the 1967 treaty that should remain at the forefront of any regulation to come: outer space should be the province of all humankind. Otherwise, we do not deserve to be among the stars but should rather suffer the fate of Icarus.


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