Astrolaw: Carrying Human Rights into Outer Space

By Robinson, George S. | The Futurist, May-June 1990 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Astrolaw: Carrying Human Rights into Outer Space


Robinson, George S., The Futurist


Human movement into space offers one of those rare opportunities in history to break the endless cycles of economic imperialism, colonialism, denial of basic human rights, and the subsequent violent confrontations that inevitably follow. But there is a notable absence of carefully crafted assertions of basic human rights and freedoms in outer space.

Lawyers and jurists already have 'invaded" outer space, dragging along with them both traditional laws of commerce and the rather exotic treaties spelling out basic rules for using and occupying space. But these pursuits only extend familiar principles of Earth laws into the realm of space. Nowhere, in all of these domestic laws and international treaties, is there a definitive embracing of human rights and freedoms in space. Nowhere is the 'spacelaw' or 'astrolaw' guardianship role of these rights and freedoms specifically stated. And nowhere in this new body of law is there a clear recognition of the need for principles of social order in a truly unique physical and psychological environment.

Space is not just another place.- As an arena for ongoing human evolution, space has not generated enough interest thus far to ensure that our astronaut/ cosmonaut settlers and envoys of humankind will carry such individual and social values with them as the freedom of speech, peaceable assembly, and the right to petition the government for redress of a grievance. These principles must not rest on inferences alone, or they will never find their rightful place in the continuing human odyssey into space.

Several years ago, a project was undertaken through the Smithsonian Institution's National Air & Space Museum to attempt to formulate a "Declaration of First Principles for the Governance of Outer Space Societies." The participants who were selected for the project represented a broad array of disciplines and interests, including engineering, biomedicine, law, economics, sociology, psychology, bioethics, and philosophy. Rather than attempting to frame an actual constitution for space societies, which normally would be reserved for sovereign governments, the group's purpose was to put together a declaration that would help governmental authorities responsible for space policy to remain aware of the fundamental rights and freedoms of people who live in space.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Astrolaw: Carrying Human Rights into Outer Space
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?