Issues concerning outer space investments in international law
Recent improvements in technology have in essence increased the viability of outer space as the next frontier for international investment and development. In addition to the current commercial applications of outer space usage such as remote sensing and direct television broadcasting, real possibilities now exist for mining mineral deposits on the surface of the moon and nearby asteroids, among other things. Degradation and dissipation of most natural/mineral resources on Earth, steady increase in world population and the possibilities of exploring and exploiting outer space through advancements in technology make outer space investments not just necessary but inevitable. As an international arena, coupled with financial and technological costs of such ventures, outer space investments would require a number of issues tackled first. This article therefore sets to discuss these issues which include the need for cooperation among nations for robust outer space investments and the need to circumvent current legal and logistical barriers to such investments by putting in place a more enabling international legal regime to that effect. Doctrinal method is adopted in this research and the result reveals that several barriers—legal, logistical and economic, inhibit outer space investments. We examined relevant statutes, text books, journal articles, case law and the internet materials. The work recommends inter alia that an outer space property legal system that creates both incentives and predictability must be established to remove major barriers inhibiting outer space investments.
Key words: Outer Space, Investments, International Law, International Space Station