Commentary | A Declaration of Space Jurisprudence Interdependence
It is essential to have a driving, underlying philosophic construct recognized and accepted globally for pursuing space activities in support of humankind’s migration off-Earth. It also is critical for space jurisprudents or philosophers — as well as space law practitioners — to recognize the biochemical/biological underpinnings directing the opportunity potential for space exploration and migration, dispersal and settlement that are critical for the survival of the human genome.
The motivating construct for implementing these opportunities — individually and collectively, shared by all cultures, all societies and all civilizations — is species and, ultimately, specieskind’s survival.
The substantive underpinnings of this approach relate cultural institutions, such as “the law,” to the empirically premised migratory dispersal and evolutionary principles of biochemistry and biophysics underlying organic life and its evolution as it is presently known and understood.
It is inherently self-destructive to raise the human species too far above its biochemical origins and dictates and not to recognize that for humankind’s space migration, time genuinely is “of the essence.” In this context, it must be recognized that all existence represents infinite levels of energy in the form of organized information. This is true of oral and written languages as well as other forms of evolving communication, between and among sender and recipient entities. The energy genesis is embraced in the formulation of what cultures refer to as principles and laws intended to further the survival and evolution potential of individuals and societies formulating those principles and laws. From this, it can be recognized that the evolution and survival of modern humans and their descendants stand on the evolutionary shoulders of their single-cell ancestors.
Flowing from the biochemical foundation of organic life, the human species is now at the point where the individual and collective “essence” of a given genome may well be dependent upon first a unifying global and then perhaps a transglobal organizational structure. Such a relatively unique organization might be formulated as a type of private-sector, quasi-sovereign cybernation, or even a cybercorporation, with no, or very little, unrelated geopolitical constraints imposed by Earth-indigenous governments.
Toward this end, pursuing an assessment of the potential for ongoing space migration and habitation by examining cybersovereignty and cybercomponents necessary for such a cyberspace management entity — the sole objective of which is to implement and enhance space migration and settlement in furtherance of the survival of humankind — seems a rational resource to evaluate and path to pursue.
While many nations have laws that are directed at cyberpersona and certain corporate cyberactivities, criminal and civil in nature, effective enforcement of those laws is tenuous at best. If the state of the global economy remains frighteningly fibrillating or stagnant, and space migration activities are held captive by unrelated issues — such as those raised in the recent Russian-U.S. standoff flowing from U.S. sanctions against Russia for its Ukrainian activities, and the Russian threat to terminate or deny international space station access by U.S. astronauts — then some form of private-sector-controlled global governance to facilitate and enhance humankind space migration seems inevitable.
In this context, it should be noted that the Institute of Air and Space Law at McGill University in Montreal already has convened two international multidisciplinary conferences addressing global governance of space activities. It plans a major follow-on conference in two years to address the formulation of an appropriately effective management infrastructure for the global governance of space activities.
What can be the role of space law practitioners in conceptualizing and implementing such a unique space activity and management policy for human migration?
The first essential step is for the profession and its members to shift from being legal technicians or mechanics to becoming jurisprudential design engineers involved at the outset in formulating and implementing an effective global governance space policy. This may be considered absolutely essential for facilitating humankind space migration, evolution and ongoing adaptation. Members of the legal profession have the final responsibility for accurate characterization and implementation of all policies and programs related to migration, consistent with a broad complexity and even disparities and contradictory applicable laws. They are and must be integral components of policy and program/projects from the outset. For the most part, though, lawyers have been considered rubber-stampers regarding technical policies and implementation of programs and projects. Again, time is of the essence, an operating principle found in all legal systems. It also is a driving factor underlying the biological dictates of space migration critical to humankind’s survival.
Lawyers involved with all aspects of domestic and international space-related activities must be able to understand and articulate in a fully knowledgeable fashion the scientific, engineering, economic and political aspects of a program and its related projects. In short, it’s time for the attic doors of space migration policies and programs to be unlocked.
The legal profession is a critical component at the outset in the design and formulation of a global space migration policy and its implementing programs and projects. A growing number of space law practitioners are entering this field with advanced degrees in such disciplines as economics and international relations as well as engineering and the physical sciences. Let there be no more self-imposed refuge by the legal profession in the attic of globally and/or transglobally oriented species survival migratory policies. In more common parlance, it’s time for the true space lawyer to come out and declare a critically genuine and broad-ranging competence to participate at the very outset in the design as well as implementation of those policies.
George S. Robinson retired as legal counsel at the Smithsonian Institution and serves Of Counsel at the firm of Robinson and Robinson LLC in Maryland.