Space X has declared Mars to be a free planet and that their planned colony on the planet’s surface will not recognize Earth-based laws. People found this out after scouring through Starlink’s terms of service that came out when the service’s public beta testing was launched.
Further affirming SpaceX’s insane level of commitment to its mission, this hilarious ToS has gone viral and has been shared all over social media.
Now, this isn’t to say that Mars will become like Mad Max with roving gangs of raiders driving Model 3s or some reenactment of Dune. The Governing Laws clause states although Space X will not abide by international laws beyond Earth, it will still enact self-governing principles that are ‘established on good faith’.
Musk plans on someday building a sustainable city on Mars that does not rely on Earth for survival.
Elon Musk shared some details of this vision during the Mars Society’s annual conference where he hopes settlers will be self-sufficient before World War 3, a topic he’s talked about for years. Musk said “This really might come down to: Are we going to create a self-sustaining city on Mars before or after World War 3…. we should try… before any possible World War 3”.
There also plans to bring the Starlink internet to Mars as was reiterated by SpaceX president and COO Gwynee Shotwell, “Once we take people to Mars, they are going to need a capability to communicate.”
Elon Musk is well aware of the danger this whole mission entails and the difficulties that will occur. Musk said, “I want to emphasize, this is a very hard and dangerous and difficult thing”.
He would also add “Not for the faint of heart. Good chance you’ll die. And it’s going to be tough, tough going, but it’ll pretty glorious if it works out.” As grim as it may sound, at least he’s aware of the dangers.
Is It Even Possible?
This announcement has already attracted criticism. Antonino Salmeri is an attorney and doctoral researcher in space law at the University of Luxembourg, and according to his biography on SpaceNews.com, he is pursuing a Ph.D. in space mining enforcement challenges. So if he’s anyone who can criticize Elon Musk and his colonization plans, it’s him.
He wrote an op-ed for SpaceNews where he states that Mars is not a free planet, no matter what SpaceX says. I recommend you read the whole piece, but as to why Mars isn’t free, Salmeri says, “…declaring Mars as a ‘free planet…. conflicts with the international obligations of the United States under the Outer Space Treaty [of 1967], which naturally take[s] precedence over contractual terms of services.
So what do you think? Will Elon Musk be able to successfully make Earth laws void on Mars or will he still, have to abide by them? The Outer Space Treaty is a real thing, but will a treaty from 50 years ago still hold weight? I’d love to hear your thoughts.