Space may be the last frontier, but the good people of Canada are trying to tame that frontier by law and order.
Last week, the Canadian Parliament proposed a measure that would, in effect, make it illegal for Canadian astronauts to commit crimes on month, or while in orbit. A measure that was repealed by the Government of Canada in 2022 Federal Budget Execution Billand was presented to Parliament on April 28, reads:
“A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside of Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute a criminal offense, shall be deemed to have been committed in Canada.”
Later in the bill it is added that the same applies to crimes committed “on the surface of the moon.”
In other words, if you are a Canadian who commits a crime in space, you will be prosecuted like any other Earth-bound Canadian.
Although this measure will undoubtedly be a blow to astronauts who hoped to, say, exceed the speed of the lunar rover, the law is nowhere to be found. Canada has recently joined NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency as members Lunar Gateway project – a mission to launch a small international space station into orbit around the moon to support operations on the moon’s surface, such as future Artemis mission. It is believed that this new measure will help Canadian astronauts maintain better behavior.
This measure codifies in Canada a legal framework which is already being observed aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
“The basic rule is that“ each partner must retain jurisdiction and control over the elements it registers and over the personnel on the space station or on the space station that is its citizens, ”the statement said. ESA. “This legal regime recognizes the jurisdiction of the courts of the partner states and allows the application of national law in areas such as criminal matters, liability and protection of intellectual property rights.”
In other words, a Russian who breaks the law in space obeys Russian law, an American obeys US law, and so on.
This legal framework has already been tested. In 2019, American astronaut Anne McClain was accused of committing the first crime in space. While on board the ISS from December 2018 to June 2019, McClain was accused of using a NASA-linked computer to illegally access her ex-husband’s personal bank accounts.
NASA defended the astronaut’s reputation before launching an investigation into the incident – eventually finding that the claims against McClain were false. (McClain’s ex-wife, who filed charges, was later charged with two counts of making false statements to federal authorities, NBC reports. News.)
The Lunar Gateway mission is expected to begin sometime in the 2020s, according to sister site Live Science Space.com.
Originally published on Live Science.
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