Who Owns Outer Space?

By Clifford Hwang

On November 25, 2015, the SPACE Act of 2015 was signed into law by the President. The Act recognizes and promotes U.S. companies to explore and extract resources from the moon, asteroids, and other celestial bodies. At first glance, the SPACE Act seems to conflict with the Outer Space Treat of 1967, which states that no celestial body is subject to “national appropriation by claim of sovereignty.” On the other hand, the Act circumvents the treaty by stating that the United States “does not thereby assert sovereignty . . . over . . . any celestial body.” Now that the SPACE Act has been passed, it will be interesting to see how the world reacts when it comes to issue.