SpaceX may try impose its “own legal regime” on Mars and form a “self-governing,” self-sustaining settlement where Earth laws wouldn’t apply.
But to get Earth to recognize the sovereignty of any would-be Martian state, SpaceX will have to pull off some astounding diplomacy and changes to international law, says Frans von der Dunk, a leading expert of space law at Nebraska College of Law.
“You can come up with many interesting examples where you have people trying to call themselves a state and not being recognized,” von der Dunk told Business Insider.
Still, he thinks the international community should take SpaceX and its founder Elon Musk seriously — and use the moment to work out potential legal quandaries of such a fantastic human future before they’re made real.
“We never know if it’s going to work or when it’s going to work,” von der Dunk said of SpaceX’s planned Martian settlement. “But this is certainly a serious company with serious backing and serious engineering behind it.”
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