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Heloise Vertadier imagePhD candidate

Thesis topic: The future of the law and governance for space settlements

Supervisors: Professor Philip Nel, Professor Robert Patman, and Dr Maria Pozza

This thesis aims to start a reflection a pressing issue that has been rising for years without finding a proper answer: What will the legal framework and the governance be like in space colonies?

Space colonies can be defined as a permanent and autonomous habitat located outside the Earth which enable human life to develop on a celestial body. The first mention of space settlement in the literature appeared with “The Brick Moon” from Edward Everett Hale in 1869, but the dream of living on another planet or satellite was out of reach.

Today, the conditions have changed: thanks to an exponential development of technologies, the creation of habitats of the Moon and Mars have never been closer, and yet too little importance is given to the legal and political aspects of it.

This question needs to be assessed now for the simple reason that the development of a space settlement is one of the futures of Humanity and it needs to be regulated to ensure its success: to control the narrative is the first step to control the situation.