John G. Wrench


Has technology outrun the international law governing outer space? This dilemma presents itself as private entities become capable of space travel and new technology makes asteroid mining a reality. Although the Outer Space Treaty's "non-appropriation" principle prohibits nations from claiming sovereignty over space bodies, that restriction does not prevent resource extraction. The non-appropriation principle, interpreted alongside existing legal regimes, distinguishes between forbidden appropriation and permissible extraction. Consequently, the non-appropriation principle is most accurately viewed as a flexible premise from which the international community is free to fashion unique laws governing resource extraction in outer space.