Accession Number:

ADA508811

Title:

Toward Cooperation or Conflict on the Moon? Considering Lunar Governance in Historical Perspective

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2009-01-01

Pagination or Media Count:

23.0

Abstract:

The question of how the moon will be governed once humans return to it in about a decade and begin to establish permanent bases matters greatly to the future of international security. Already, a range of major powers have plans to participate in the moons further scientific exploration, commercial exploitation, and possible permanent settlement. If we count both manned and robotic activities, this list currently includes the United States, China, Russia, India, Germany, the United Kingdom, the European Space Agency, Japan, and South Korea. Other countries are likely to join this list in the coming years. Establishing a peaceful framework for lunar governance will be important, because hostile international relations on the moon are likely to lead to conflicts elsewhere in space and, possibly, on Earth. Such patterns regarding new frontiers have plagued the history of international relations for centuries. In seeking to weigh possible alternative scenarios on the moon, this article analyzes historical cases of human settlement of remote regions and attempts to chart and categorize similarities and differences that might provide useful guidance for forecasting lunar governance with the aim of avoiding international conflict. The article begins by comparing space to the international experience in three prior regions settling the Americas in the 1500s, establishing permanent bases on the Antarctic continent in the late 20th century, and managing the deep seabed since the 1980s. It then turns to the moon, starting with a historical survey of predictions about its settlement since the 1950s and relevant developments in the realm of international treaties affecting lunar activity. The article concludes by applying lessons drawn from the historical cases -- and differences -- to forecast likely scenarios on the moon.

Subject Categories:

  • Astronomy
  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History
  • Astronautics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE