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Rescind the Outer Space Treaty

  [vote for,

Well, I woke up this morning and realized that it's 2017, and nobody's been to Mars. I mean, this is ridiculous, really.

So, I decided to solve the problem, and have done so. It turns out that the reason nobody has been to Mars is a thing called the Outer Space Treaty, which defines all of Space (apart from Earth) as "the Province of All Mankind". This treaty hails from 1967, and was clearly the result of smoking too many of those power flowers.

With no rights to claim territory, there is very little incentive for any government to go anywhere. Governments are notoriuously drab, grey organizations run by drab, grey people who just don't get it when you say "Because it's there!!". They do the maths (or just the one math, if they're in the US), discover that all the numbers are on the wrong side of the balance book, and then spend the money elsewhere.

So, why do we have the Outer Space Treaty? I mean, when people started colonizing the US, they did so on the basis of staking claims (and, to boot, claims on land where people were already living). And, as projects go, the US is working out more-or-less OK. Why on Earth would anyone decide to rule out claim-staking in the entire rest of the Galaxy, when we stake claims like crazy almost everywhere on Earth?

No sense at all, is what it makes.

So, I propose that we rip up the Outer Space Treaty and declare that any nation can stake a claim to land on Mars or anywhere else by the time-honoured method of sending up a man (or woman) with some stakes and a sledgehammer.

I predict that, if we did that, we would see a resumption of space exploration, a re-launch of the space race, people on Mars by this time next week, and rapid progress in the development of flight-rated sledgehammers.

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 03 2017


       //nobody's been to Mars   

       Except John Carter, but only we have his word for it.
not_morrison_rm, Feb 03 2017

       Ditto Mr. Schwarzenegger.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 03 2017

       With the lack of oceans, one stake should be all that is required to claim all of Mars. Unless the Pope intercedes to divvy things up.
bungston, Feb 03 2017

       Not sure what that treaty was all about, since when it was made nobody had the wherewithal to get to the locations in question.   

       I'm thinking it was a junket justification. I'll wager if we read it carefully some fine point of parliamentary procedure can be found that renders it all null and void.
normzone, Feb 03 2017

       I agree with the general idea, but I think we might want to agree on a larger requirement than pounding a stake to claim ownership. Certainly an area could be reserved as soon as someone arrives, but permanent ownership should require at least some period of continuous habitation.
scad mientist, Feb 03 2017

       //With no rights to claim territory, there is very little incentive for any government to go anywhere.//

We should have more treaties like that.
DrBob, Feb 03 2017

       // we might want to agree on a larger requirement than pounding a stake to claim ownership.//   

       Possibly, but the aim is to give governments the incentive to go to Mars and elsewhere. So either the "reservation period" should be long (say, 50 years), or the claim-staking should be easily doable. I guess a "reservation period" has the advantage of putting a time pressure on development.   

       We also want to prevent the first human on Mars from claiming the whole planet, so some limit is needed. But we want the US, Europe, Russia, China and India all to feel as if getting to Mars is a pressing need, in order to claim land for future exploitation.   

       One option which appears very good at present would be to require the president of the country to go there in person to stake the claim.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2017


       At one time in the States all a person had to do was fence whichever piece of land they wanted and it was theirs.
One of my early history teachers told a story about two enterprising brothers who started together, fenced apart from one another for one mile, then turned and proceeded to fence their way across what is now three separate states over the course of ten years or so.

       We could implement something like that.
If you build it... it is yours. That should keep folks from claiming an entire planet for themselves.

       Presumably not every country signed the treaty? Therefore presumably presumably that or those country or countries are actually now on Mars, just keeping it quiet for obvious reasons.
Ian Tindale, Feb 04 2017

       //Except John Carter, but only we have his word for it.//   

       They saw him coming - to be four-armed is to be forewarned.
bigsleep, Feb 04 2017

       //Presumably not every country signed the treaty?//   

       Yes. Even as we speak, there are Welshmen tunneling into Uranus, [Ian].
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 04 2017

       I had an anno about redoing the Homestead act. But I could not move my hands for ten minutes after that fore-armed abomination.
bungston, Feb 04 2017

       It could be done with mushrooms.
nineteenthly, Feb 05 2017

       //That should keep folks from claiming an entire planet for themselves.//   

       But somebody could just fence off a few square metres or so and then declare that bit to be on the outside, thus claiming most of the planet while still leaving a kind of "visitor's lounge" for the rest of us.
Wrongfellow, Feb 05 2017

       Well then, simply declare that any contiguous fence allows one to claim whichever area - inside or outside - is the smaller.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2017

       That seems entirely equatorable ...
8th of 7, Feb 05 2017

       I don't know, the idea seems to border on lunacy.
normzone, Feb 05 2017

       That'd be a good title for a Trump biography - "Borders on Lunacy"
Ian Tindale, Feb 05 2017


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