Tuesday, November 3, 2020

SpaceX: No Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities

Free Mars poster for Total Recall (1990) by Rhys Cooper
It has been revealed that in Starlink's terms of service SpaceX requires beta testers to recognize Mars as a "free planet". Under the section "Governing Law" the parties agree that:
"For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement."
Interestingly the terms for the Moon are different:
"For Services provided to, on, or in orbit around the planet Earth or the Moon, these Terms and any disputes between us arising out of or related to these Terms, including disputes regarding arbitrability will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California in the United States."
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation currently being deployed by SpaceX and it will provide high-speed low-latency internet anywhere on the world (and beyond). The constellation will ultimately consist of thousands of mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), working in combination with ground transceivers.

As far as we know it is the first time any entity with real potential to send humans to Mars (defined by us as governments and private corporations with the independent human spaceflight capability, which are only four: Russia (since 1961), US (since 1962), China (since 2003) and SpaceX (since 2020)) has declared that Mars should be governed under the principles of self-government.

It remains to be seen if SpaceX will be in power do define that (US government can easily stop SpaceX operations until the company abides to the US and international law) and most likely it's just a way for Elon Musk to draw attention to the upcoming Starlink public release, but it would be cool to see Mars as an independent planet even before the timeframe we have speculated: internal self-governance in 2080s and complete independence in the 22nd century.

*Cover poster "Free Mars" by Rhys Cooper for Total Recall (1990) movie.

1 comment:

  1. This is my inspiration.