Space Law for Mars

Space Law Needed for The Protection of Martian Resources

by J.J. Hurtak, Ph.D, Ph.D.
AFFS Corporation

Excerpts from a Paper for the Mars Society Conference,
Copyright © 2003 J.J. Hurtak


The recent confirmation of surface and subsurface ice and water reservoirs on Mars represents ground breaking news and the need to prepare Space Law documents that will preserve and protect these critical resources by future missions to Mars. The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft not only concluded that Mars has a molten liquid core that has some similarity to Earth, but it has detected surface and the possibility of even larger subsurface water reserves that could prove useful to human habitation. Along with this evidence, the Mars Odyssey orbiter confirmed (in 2002) ice at the north pole (and in 2004, the Mars Express has confirmed ice at the south pole and hydrogen in the atmosphere).The January landings of NASA’s Spirit and Observer missions hope to write a new history on the shared biosphere of Mars-Earth and the possible beginnings of life on earth connected with Mars.  A new generation of ecological issues on Mars stands before us which exemplify the interconnectedness of life and its natural support systems for future life on Mars. Modern scientific discoveries are revealing that localized activities can have global consequences and that dangers of contamination can be slow and perhaps barely perceptible in their development until it is too late.

Traditional environmental law and international diplomacy offers some practical guidelines for confronting such situations. Environmental problems of the past were addressed largely through unilateral actions, national legislation, and occasional international treaties, all based on unmistakable evidence of damage. However, if the international community is to respond effectively to the new environmental challenges of the Martian resources like water, a substance vital for species survival or extinction, governments must undertake coordinated actions before damage becomes tangible and thereby possibly irremediable.

  1. Discovery of Martian Fluvial History

There is growing evidence that a far larger body of water inundated the northern plains much earlier in Martian history. Immense outflows likely formed  large ice-covered lakes or there may have been one large ocean. Along with others in the remote sensing field this author first raised this tantalizing possibility in the mid-1970s after he identified possible shorelines in the Mariner-9 images. This interpretation along with others in the field like Michael Carr originally received additional support from Prof. James W. Head (Brown University) and his colleagues.[1] Using remote sensing measurements made by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, they found that at least one of Mars’s putative shorelines lies along a boundary of nearly constant elevation –a result most easily explained by erosion associated with a standing body of water. This would fall within a geological time period of 3 to 4 billion years ago.

gulliesmarsWhile the geologic evidence for an ancient ocean appears increasingly persuasive, the  genesis and timing of its existence is still unknown. Until recently, geologists thought that if a large body of water ever existed it must have resulted from the discharge of the outflow channels and thus would have first appeared about midway through Mars’s geologic history. However, some planetary scientists have taken a different approach, first by considering the hydraulic conditions required to explain the channels themselves and then by extrapolating those conditions backward in time. We conclude that an ocean on Mars (as on Earth) almost certainly condensed shortly after the planet formed.  Cameras from NASA’s Mariner-9 and Viking l and Viking 2 documents, and more recent findings of heavy hydrogen concentrations by Odyssey show evidence suggesting that catastrophic outflows repeatedly discharged massive floods onto the regions of the Valles Marinaris and Chryse Planitia.

But what about today? Closer examination of both old and new documents from Martian orbiters show huge potential reservoir areas in the planet’s southern highlands. Of the planet’s total estimated inventory of 0.5 to 1.0 km of Hydrogen between 94 and 98 percent of it remains unaccounted for, the vast bulk of which may reside as ground ice and groundwater beneath the Martian surface [2] The total volume of water ice present in the south polar cap is still unknown but is believed to be more shallow than in the north which would be between 1-3 km in thickness. Both have liquid water according to the Mars Global Surveyor findings (2003). If both caps are composed completely of water, the combined volumes are equivalent to a global layer of between 25-35 meters deep spread out across the planetary surface. This is comparable to 14.2 million square km of Antarctica that is covered with ice at an average depth of 2,000 meters.

marsNew findings presented by researchers predict that most gullied surfaces will not be sites of near-surface water reservoirs because the snow surface is now gone near the equator.[3] At the Martian surface, the low relative humidity of the atmosphere means that ground ice is thermodynamically unstable at the “warm” latitudes around the equator at 40 degrees and, therefore, dissipates into the atmosphere. Depending on local conditions and variations in subsurface properties, the average depth of this desiccation ranges from a few centimeters at the planet’s middle latitudes to as much as 1 km near the equator.

Ground ice could also be present in mass deposits in the northern plains, an expectation based on the evidence of the early ocean and possible flooding by outflow channels later on. As a result, the sequence of volatile-rich layers underlying the plains is likely to be quite complex, having been built up through multiple episodes of flooding, freezing, sublimation, and burial. This complexity has undoubtedly been compounded by other geological movements and vicissitudes on the planet’s surface, which may or may not provide for enriched soils.

Water activity exists, in some form, currently and in the past, within centimeters of the surface and at the ice caps on Mars. This fact has already influenced our rationale in the search for landing sites and should continue to provide important areas for future sample return missions. While at the same time, the rock layers above gullies, previously thought to be a water source, are extremely difficult to access and are unlikely landing sites.

Study of the thawing of the glacial layers at the poles and snow melt accumulations in the craters of Mars also have important implications for the search for life on Mars, as well as the potential for human exploration. If liquid water is produced and regenerated on relatively short time scales associated with the variations in orbital parameters and if it reaches up to several tens of centimeters of the surface, being stable for extended period of times, it could provide a means for life to have survived at certain periods of Martian history, and could provide favorable sites for extant life today. However, the pole-facing mantles provide an excellent opportunity to sample and study the water-rich reservoirs which are the key to all future life surviving on the planet. Hence, the water-units on the surface or subsurface are the potential resources not only for exobiological exploration of the planet, but for the survival of  human societies, tied into the future terraforming of Mars. [4]

  1. Protection against Environmental Hazards on Mars

There are four basic objectives in environmental law proposed for Mars: the protection of aquatic ecology; the protection of specific subsurface habitats where some organic life may live; the maintenance of clean water for use by interplanetary space mission teams, and the protection of water resources and water samples that will be shipped from Mars to Earth for research and study by governments and multi-national corporations.[5]  Simply put, the  biosphere of Earth also extends to Mars and this larger biosphere needs to be preserved!

On the basis of new geological data the directive for formulating a Martian Environmental Law (MEL) under space law, policy makers from the U.N., government, regulatory agencies, the water industry, and aerospace specialists on planetary environment should work together to provide an integrated framework for the protection of surface water, groundwater, estuaries and remnant areas of the ancient Martian ocean shorelines. This is to encourage cooperation between different exploratory parties or consortiums of the Martian surface by using management based on international policies for the governing, protection and welfare of coastal and oceanic areas as announced at the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg 2002).

Is it possible to design a version of incentives so that responsible parties could normally be expected to discover the magnitude of the risks, investigate the menu of risk-reducing strategies, make a socially acceptable choice, and act accordingly? Increasingly, court remedies are being relied upon to provide exactly this kind of system of incentives. In cases such as oil spills and contamination of water supplies by toxic emissions, the courts have forced responsible parties not only to pay for clean up of the contaminated sites, but also to compensate those who suffered damage in one form or another from the contamination.  However, we cannot wait until “after the fact” on Mars, but we must implement regulations which are by their very nature ex ante ; they prescribe or prohibit specific activities before they occur.

  1. The Montreal Protocol:
    An Example of Global Environment Law

In the 1980s global politics and environmental issues collided in the world. British scientists reported in 1985 the thinning of the ozone layer of the Antarctic, and the pressure was on to freeze and/or reduce CFC  (Chlorofluorocarbon) production. By 1987, the international agreement entitled the Montreal Protocol was signed by the United States, the European Community and twenty-three other countries. Nevertheless, there were loopholes in the Protocol which permits India and China to continue to place high concentrations of CFCs into the atmosphere.  Clearly the problems of the world ozone crisis in the 1980s illustrate a good strategy of how many governments of the world worked together in resolving sharp differences on the curtailment of CFC production which was seen as a trigger agent for the destruction of the fragile ozone layer.

For obvious reasons, European industry—and hence the EU (European Community) –did not welcome the proposal of a quick time table to eliminate all CFC production by the end of the 1990s. Several times the negotiations threatened to break down. Sweden, the United States, and other countries continued to emphasize during the debates that, if only production were controlled, unfair benefits would be conferred on the EU, while CFC-importing nations, especially the developing countries, would be at a disadvantage. Ultimately, the logic and equity of an “adjusted production” formula was compelling, and the opposition to a “production only” formula became implacable. The EU Commission found itself isolated, and a solution in the form of a more comprehensive legal language proved successful. The legal solution crafted at Montreal was practical and impartial, defining an agreed upon schedule to phase out production. The path to litigation resolution in space-related activities may well hinge on constructive language that is “time related” in putting problem solving on a fast track.

Our latest scientific and social comprehension of the cause and spread of CFC destruction, also shows how unaware we are for returning to Mars with the scenarios that could seriously affect the “skin” of the planet. A sense of uncertainty about the way the upper atmosphere is monitored through old standards and old calibrations of pollution needs to be examined with remote sensing techniques to monitor the gases, such as hydrogen, that are present on Mars.

Scientific data presented during the protocol negotiations in Canada was taken very seriously at the time of the Ozone hole treaty which influenced not only environmentalists to forget how uncertain the scientific evidence had been but also politicans. Something tremendous “out there” also had an unsettling effect on many government spokespersons who seemed to not understand the full impact of the Montreal Treaty’s capability to set an international precedent for future global environmental laws. One U.S. observer termed the protocol “a major half-step forward,” while a British writer uncharitably described it as a masterpiece of fudge and compromise…”full of loopholes” and a “feeble agreement.” Fortunately, others like Chris Patten, U.K. environmental secretary, described it as “the model for…future environmental diplomacy.” [6]

  1. Resources on Mars: Water and Minerals

Increasing economic pressure, in contrast, to understanding  non-renewable resources on planet Earth and Mars forces Earthlings to look principally at exploration for economic developmental.  New advantages of the space program will focus on futuristic exploitation of mineral and energy resources on the nearby planets as part of a great extraterrestrial imperative. But an even more important feature stems from Mars’ suspected ocean, that once covered much of the planetary surface and its suspected vast underground water resources which will make water economically feasible to exploit for future mission to Mars.

water1aThe high degree of certainty that mineral deposits do exist similar to those on earth is based on close geological similarities that have been observed in over twenty meteorites that have been found on Earth that are believed, based on their chemical composition (iron, etc) to be from Mars.  Microstratigraphy shows detailed carbonate deposits in  meteorites were inserted while the rock was still on the Martian surface, providing possible evidence that liquid water circulated through the surface crust. [7]

Scientists, since 2001, have used Odyssey’s gamma ray spectrometer to locate suspected water locations near the signature of buried hydrogen. Neutron data reveals major concentrations of ice-rich layers of water beneath the surface.  In addition, gully formation at the surface by snow melt is thought not to produce mineral deposits, such as salt, as it does on earth, a prediction opposite to what might be expected if the source water was subsurface brines. There is suspicion of mineral occurrences including antimony, chromium, copper, iron, zinc, sulfur and molybdenum on the Martian surface. However, none approaches a grade or size warranting immediate economic interest. Also there are probably very large deposits of coal and sedimentary iron, but because of the high costs of Mars operations that would occur during the first half of the twenty-first century, few conceivable resources, excepting the search for a water reservoir or search for petroleum from microbial life, would have any likelihood for immediate exploitation for economic benefit.

If ancient bacteria created petroleum, any extraction would be difficult but not impossible in the deep underground regions since technologies have been developed for drilling and recovering  petroleum in the Arctic regions of earth. Drilling ships and platforms, so effective for the usual massive undulating and gargantuan storms in the Arctic, could be used directly on Mars. Thus, fuel and water resources would be exploited far sooner than mineral resources.  Unless there were exotic minerals, there is little potential for the development of Martian reserves before more attractive areas throughout this world are explored, that is for bringing back reserves to Earth.  But Martian water and fuel resources would be first exploited by our own Martian explorers and first colonizers.

The factors of development are complexly interrelated and difficult to assess for the present, let alone the future. From in only a short time from the first human landing or even with simple unmanned probes with special robotic tools, it can become feasible to develop a Martian resource, such as surface water for evenutal human settlements. Other sources of coal or oil shale might be found in the first decades of development, that could be used as an energy resource in the place of geothermal energy, which would greatly change cost factors of industrial development on Mars, so we must immediately force a reconsideration of previous environmental incentives to keep Mars clean.

The political volatility of the resource question, especially the problems of rights of ownership and development, has prompted proposals that range from sharing any found mineral wealth equally among the nations to establishing the planet as a total ecological zone; it is understood that any significant mineral discovery will provide a severe test for the nation-states first on the Martian surface.

In one definition of “resource development”, Mars natural resources can be defined as natural materials or characteristics of significance to humankind. By this broad definition, the term includes not only biological and mineral resources but also the land itself, water, ice, climate, and space for living and working, recreation and storage. “Economic resources” are those that can be used or exported at a cost that is less than their value. Any attempted appraisal must therefore be continually reevaluated in terms of current market values, logistical costs, and technological development.

A rich imagination can also see many possible uses of the Mars poles and their reserves. The polar ice sheets possibly contain as such as 90 percent of the planet’s glacial ice—a huge potential supply of fresh water—but any economic value is precluded by delivery costs except for the exo-industrial settlements. Mars ice has been proposed as a long-term, deep-freeze storage site for grain and other foods, but calculations show that such usage is not economic at the early stages of settlement, because of excessive shipping, handling, and investment costs. The Antarctic Treaty rules out military use, however, and the increasing capability of earth-based long-range aircraft rocketry, and satellite surveillance and reentry decreases the possible military importance of Mars.

In the long run, we might find, as Libya did when they exploited their ancient underground water, that there is a limited and meager inventory of accessible water which would be at odds with the volume of fluid needed to shape exo-industrial operations for making Mars user-friendly to the first generation of earthlings. Therefore, space law for the protection of vital environmental resources, especially  water and petroleum, must be the single most important part of framework legislation for all participants.[8]

Management plans will have to be developed, specifying what actions are needed to implement the environmental objectives of maintaining international reciprocity for all sides at each surface and subsurface water site deemed important for human exploration and settlements on Mars. The following planetary considerations can be argued for the following water scenarios:

(1) Because not all bodies of water are used for the same purpose, specific protection zones are to be established within each ancient river basin, subject to more stringent protection according to the uses made of them.

(2) Groundwater should not be polluted at all, so direct discharges into groundwater should be banned, and groundwater should be monitored so that changes in chemical composition can be detected and man-made pollution addressed by new technology.[9]

(3) Member exploratory parties on Mars whether national or international are to be subject to the use of water through laws and ‘green taxes’ to achieve the goals of the directive, the goal being to prevent the over-extraction or drilling for water, and to encourage more efficient use of water reservoirs, and to ensure that the environmental costs of water use are borne by the user.


The long-term viewing of Martian resources may soon be possible due to NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity probes with a plethora of follow-up missions. In spite of other world-wide problems, such as the threat of nuclear devastation and the gradual one of curbing human population-pressures, the time is right for all thinking humanity to act in an ecologically-minded context. This should range from applying legislation through enlightened maintenance of each local ecosystem, whether natural or artificial, and to care for it in the interplanetary context of what this writer calls, the Joint Earth-Mars Biosphere. Each of the ecosystems comprising the Joint Earth-Mars Biosphere, should become an integral part of our life in unity with Earth’s living biota–including Humankind.

In building a society and eventual civilization on Mars, through cooperation among nations, we can only do this by preserving water as the future “life blood” of humanity.  Let us not destroy our chance of building new life upon the remnants of a once global Martian ocean. But let us now begin with introducing protective laws which will protect possible invaluable “surviving micro-organisms” that can give evidence of our evolutionary track in the cosmos, as well as our own future on our sister planet. Immediate space law legislation is, thus, needed for the initial contact with the tread of life on a sister planet and the development of human civilization on Mars in the 21st century. Accountable and courageous leadership in all sectors will be needed to mobilize the necessary effort. If the world community fails to act forcefully in the current decade, the Earth’s ability to sustain life in space, including back on mother Earth may be at risk.


[1] Discussions with Prof. James W. Head, Brown University, at Jet Propulsion Lab, L.A., April 1984.

[2] Mellon, M.T. and Jakowsky, B. (1995) The distribution and behavior of martian ground ice during past and present epochs. Journal Geophysics. Research. 100, 11781-11799.

[3] J. Thompson, et al. (2003) Martian Gullies and the Stability of Water in the Martian Environment. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXIV, 1035. Boynton, W.V. (2002) Science 297, 81.

[4]McKay, Christopher, Kastings, J. and Toon, O. “Making Mars Habitable,” Nature 352 (1991) 489-496.

[5]Benedick, Richard E.. (1991) Ozone Diplomacy, New Directions in Safeguarding the Planet. Cambridge, MA: Harvard, p 198.

[6] French, Hilary et al. (1992) After the Earth Summit. Future of Environmental Governance. Washington D.C.: Worldwatch Institute.[7] The Ecological Integrity section of The Earth Charter Initiative gives an outstanding model for a global ethic and for adapting human life to work in a vast evolving universe with new planetary habitats. See[8]Levin, G. (1997) “Viking Label Release Experiment” (Water and Life on Mars Reconsidered).  Proc. Internat. Society for Opt. Imaging. Proc. Series, 3111, pp. 146-161.[9] Discussions with Walter Brown, former head of Radar Team at JPL, August 2002..



Space Law for Mars2017-12-20T13:56:40+00:00

Studies on the Rings of Saturn

Studies on the Rings of  Saturn

Vladimir V. Tchernyi
Andrew Ju. Pospelov
Serge V. Girich

A program of investigation of Saturn’s rings must include experiments in superconductivity. The authors’ hypothesis of the superconductive material states of the rings of Saturn makes it possible to add to classical planetary ring theory a non-conflicting superdiamagnetic model. By incorporating the physical effects and phenomena associated with superconductors during interaction with the magnetic field, many problems of planetary ring behavior will be solved.

Of the problems and answering hypotheses put forward by the authors, the four following examples address the physical effect of the planet’s rings:


Thesis: Orientation of elongated particles is normal to the magnetic field lines.

For an explanation of the phenomenon of the variable azimuth brightness of Saturn’s A ring, hypotheses based on the assumption of synchronous rotation of particles, or with the asymmetrical form as extended ellipsoids, or with asymmetrical albedo of the surface, were put forth.


Fig 8.1. Orientation of the prism of superconducting ice in the magnetic field of Saturn.

The phenomenon of diamagnetism consists in the following: in substance placed in the magnetic field, the additional magnetic moment directed opposite to field arises. The body is magnetized not along the field but against the field. The rod of diamagnetic substance is established perpendicularly to the magnetic field lines.

The magnetic field of the space body contains as constituents a polhodal field with field lines directed on meridians as dipole, and a toroidal field with field lines directed along parallels.

It is also known that at temperatures below -22oC growing snowflakes get the form of prisms7. Thus, the prism of superconducting ice will be orientated perpendicularly to field lines of polhodal (HP) and toroidal (HT) constituents of the magnetic fields of Saturn.


Thesis: Push-out of superconducting particles from the rings plane or their reorientation by magnetic anomaly.

Spokes in the ring B of Saturn, as well as the spokes of any wheel, are  located almost along radii . It must be said that the existence of radial structures in a planetary ring throws a call to all traditional representations. The fact is that according to the laws of Kepler, the areas of the wide B ring farther from a planet rotate slower than those placed nearer. Therefore any  radial formation should be distorted and washed out for a few tens of minutes.  The characteristic sizes of ‘spokes’ are about 104 km along radius and about 103  km along the orbit of the ring. They consist of micron and submicron  particles.

Until recently, the structure of the rings of Saturn was explained exclusively as the action of gravitational forces. However as soon as ‘spokes’  were found, there was an assumption that they are connected to electromagnetic interaction, as they rotate almost synchronously with the magnetosphere of Saturn.

Analysis of spectral-emitted radiant power of the spokes gives a characteristic periodicity 640 ,6+-3,5 min, which agrees closely to the period of rotation of the magnetic field of Saturn: -639 ,4mines15. Moreover, there exists  a strong correlation of mixima and minima of activity of spokes with the special  magnetic longitudes connected to presence or absence of the SKR radiation. This  confirms the assumption of communication of the spokes with the magnetic field  of Saturn and testifies to the presence of large-scale anomalies in the magnetic field of Saturn[1].

It is difficult to give a detailed analysis of the formation of spokes as we don’t know which script is realized. Definitely it is possible to say, that the  hypothesis about the superdiamagnetic condition of the substance in the rings of Saturn can work both for the orientation hypothesis of spokes formation, and for  the levitation one.


Thesis: The existence of critical frequency (~1011 Hz) above which electromagnetic waves are absorbed and below which ones are fully reflected.


The opening of strong radar-tracking reflection from rings of Saturn in 1973 was surprising[2]. It turned out that the rings of Saturn actually have the greatest radar-tracking section among all the bodies of our solar system. Originally high reflection and small brightness of ring particles to radio waves implied that the ring particles consisted of metals[2]. The data from Voyager I and II later excluded this possibility.

A disk of superconducting particles will completely reflect radiation with frequencies <1011 Hz ,and poorly reflect radiation with frequencies >1011 Hz. This is connected with the fact that radiation is strongly absorbed when the energy of photons is great enough to throw electrons through energetic slits. As in superconductors, the absorption begins at frequencies greater than 1011 Hz.

Let’s apply a variable field to the superconductor. If the frequency of the applied field is rather high, the superconductor behaves as a normal substance. This occurs because at rather high frequencies of the applied field the superconducting electrons, being in a lower energetic state than normal electrons, are excited by photons of the applied field where they behave like normal electrons. This occurs at frequencies greater than 1011 Hz (that is higher than the frequency of a very long wave in the infrared area). The properties of a superconductor under optical frequencies do not differ, therefore, from the properties of a normal substance. And, for example, any visual changes are not observed in a superconductor under its cooling at temperature below the superconducting transition temperature[3].

The superconductors of type I practically have no resistance up to frequencies of 100 Mhz[4]. At a frequency of about 100 Ghz there comes a limit, above which the frequent quantum effects cause a rapid increase in resistance.


Fig.3: (Top) Brightness temperature of rings when the lengths of waves are from 10:m up to 10cm. Transition from radiation of a black body (100 micron) to practically complete reflection is observed.
(Bottom): Surface resistance of superconductor (niobium) as a function of frequency at temperature 4.2 ºK.
To understand these two dependencies the following explanation is necessary: according to Kirchhoff’s radiation law, a body which under a given frequency and temperature absorbs more radiation should more heavily radiate, and vice versa.


Thesis: Generation of electromagnetic waves by Josephson’s contact with  frequency 4 ,83594. 1014 Hz/V – non-stationary Josephson effect.

‘Voyager’ research has shown that the rings radiate strong electromagnetic waves which are probably (a) the result of interaction between charged particles of ice, or (b) a result of destruction and friction among ice particles when collisions occur. If this is the case, then it is probably necessary to admit that the complex movement of the particles that form the rings of Saturn, depends not only on mechanical forces which have been previously taken into account, but also on other interactions, for example, on electromagnetic ones[5].

During both encounters of the ‘Voyagers’ with Saturn planetary radio-astronomy, the experiment (PRA) has shown fixed, non-polarized, very broadband radio radiation, through all observable ranges of the experiment (20,4 kHz-40,2 MHz). These incidental radio discharges are called Saturn’s electrostatic charges (SED). The average period of SED was determined by Voyager I and II to be 10 hour 10+-5 min. If the ring is a source of SED, the area of the source can be located at a distance of 107,990-109,200 km from the planet according to measured periodicity[6].

The authors’ explanation: The approach of superconductors up to a distance of about 10-10 m, or, the existence of narrow or dot contact, will result in forming a “weak link” (superconducting transition) through which superconducting electrons can be tunnelled. When the difference of phases between superconductors under the action

of the electrical or magnetic field occurs, the weak link will generate electromagnetic radiation with frequency proportional to the loss of power in this transition. The ratio between frequency n and voltage in transition V looks like n=2eV/h, where e is a charge of an electron and h is a Planck constant. The ratio 2e/h is equal to 483,6 MHz/mV[7].



1. L.W. Esposito, J.N. Cuzzi, J.B. Holberg, E.A. Marouf, G.L. Tyler, C.C.  Porco, “Saturn’s Rings, Stucture, Dynamics and Particle Properties”, Saturn, T.Gehrels, M.S. Matthews (eds.), Univ. Of Arizona Press, Tucson,  pp. 463-545, 1984.

2. R.M. Goldstein, G.A. Morris, ” Radar Observations of the Rings of Saturn,” Icarus, 20, p .249-283, 1973.

3. N.N. Gor’kavyi, A.M. Fridman, Physics of the Planetary Rings: Celestial  Mechanics of Continuous Medium, Nauka, Moscow, 348 p. 1994.

4. A.Ju. Pospelov, V.V. Tchernyi, “Electromagnetic properties of material  forecast in the planet rings by methods of functional physics analysis”. Proceedings of the International Scientific -Methodical Conference “Innovative Design in Education, Technics, and Technologies,” VSTU, Volgograd, Russia, pp.75-77, 1995.

5. N. Maeno, “Science about Ice” (translat. from Jap.), Moscow, Mir, p.231, 1988

6. D.A. Mendis, J.R. Hill, W.H. Ip, C.K. Gorertz, and E. Grün, Electrodynamic Processes in the Ring System of Saturn, T. Gehrels, M.  Mathews (eds.), The Univ. Of Arizona Press, Tucson, pp.546-589 1984.

7. M.L. Kaiser, V.D. Desch, A. Lecacheus, “Saturnian Kilometric Radiation: Statistical Properties and Beam Geometry,” Nature, 292, pp.731-733, 1981.

Studies on the Rings of Saturn2017-12-20T14:16:37+00:00

Space Law

Existing Space Law Concepts and Legislation Proposals

Copyright © 2005 J.J. Hurtak, Ph.D.

With “outer space” daily becoming less of an abstract notion and more of a cultural reality, the utilization of “near space” must be addressed on a practical level. In the wake of successful Mars fly-overs and landings, humanity must consider the government and management of regions no longer reachable only in imagination, but reachable and exploitable by man and his various technologies. An equitable and binding code of behavior, applicable to all who venture into these realms, is the concern addressed in our lead article.

Space Law requirements have been proposed by the United Nations for the human settlement, scientific discovery, and industrial explorations on the terrestrial moon and on Mars. Brought to the United Nations General Assembly by the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), currently composed of 61 members, nation-states have enacted five treaties to provide and enforce procedures in the human experience of outer space:

1. (1967) The Treaty on the Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (commonly known as the Outer Space Treaty) seeks to keep outer space free  for exploration by all States while protecting celestial bodies from national sovereignty. The Treaty permits private enterprises to use space for peaceful  purposes if their activities and results are made public. The responsibility for  all launches is borne by the State.

2. (1967) Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and  the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space (the Rescue Agreement) details assistance and retrieval procedures.

3. (1971) The Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects (the Liability Convention) attaches liability to the launching State.

4. (1974) The Convention on the Registration of Objects Launched into Outer  Space (the Registration Convention) requires the UN to maintain a central register of specific information for each space object, available on  inquiry.

5. (1979) The controversial Agreement Governing the Activities of States on  the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (the Moon Treaty) designates space as the “common heritage of mankind,” not merely the “province of mankind” as written in  the Outer Space Treaty.

Outer space qualifies as res communis (the property of all) under Article 1 of the Outer Space Treaty, rather than as res nullius, the principle that these resources belong to no one and are to be doled out on a first-come, first-served basis. The Moon Treaty agrees, placing limitations on national sovereignty: “The moon is not subject to national appro-priation,” and “the placement of personnel, space vehicles, equipment, facilities, stations and installation on or below the surface of the Moon… shall not create a right of ownership.”

Article 11 of the Moon Treaty directs the establishment of an international regime, whose purposes are: the orderly and safe development of the natural resources of the moon; the rational management of those resources; the expansion of opportunities in the use of those resources; and an equitable sharing by all States-Parties in the benefits derived from those resources. The “common heritage of mankind” would thus require an international consortium to monitor and hold accountable actions with potential consequence towards any other State.

Only nine nations have ratified the Moon Treaty (Australia, Austria, Chile, Mexico, Morocco , the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, and Uruguay), while over 90 have signed the Outer Space Treaty. By UN agreement, five signatures are sufficient to validate a treaty as an international instrument, but there is concern at the refusal of the USA and Russia/USSR to sign—the two nations most likely at present to engage significantly in space exploration.

Obviously, it is the criteria for exploitation of natural resources found on the moon, Mars and other celestial bodies that is of the greatest practical interest. In the foreseeable future, Mars and perhaps its two satellites will be the only sources of usable resources for space researchers or colonists, until we are able to reach the nearest earth-asteroid for mining. By not signing the Moon Treaty, the USA and Russia/USSR tried to set a precedent for the possible future commercialization of space that most likely will occur in the 21st Century.

Most scientists also do not want to recognize the Moon Treaty for fear that it would inadvertently prevent our expansion into space if no economic benefits can be derived. The Moon Treaty, however, does not place a moratorium on exploitation of natural resources, but insists upon the establishment of an international regime to monitor and control such exploitation. In fact, mining could be begun on an experimental basis even while clearer rules are established and eventually made law. But what is at question here, if taken literally, is the “common heritage of mankind” clause which indicates that if exploitation does commence, all nations should have a share in the proceeds.

In addition to the five treaties instituted by COPUOS, five other resolutions have been signed that are shaping the parameters of international space law. These five resolutions, regarded by member states as guidelines rather than as legally binding obligations, address such concerns as the broadcasting of signals via artificial earth satellites into areas that may be politically or socially opposed to the information being broadcast; the regulation of satellite communications and orbital slots; the use of nuclear power sources in outer space (drawn up in 1992 after a Soviet nuclear-powered satellite broke up in air-space over Canada); the need to ensure international cooperation in outer space; and remote sensing of the earth from space, with principles designed to take developing countries into particular consideration.1

Monitoring through remote sensing is a priority for most Mars orbital missions. Besides being used to evaluate and select landing sites, this operation can furnish a complete geological mapping of the surface and subsurface of Mars, while analyzing mineralogical features at the same time.

With the potential discovery before us of new resources, it is the commercialization of outer space and its celestial bodies that must be addressed. As Space Station Freedom (SSF), a multi-purposed facility to be stationed in low-earth orbit is developed and the Mars program is expanded in the 21st Century, more and more private companies will want to become involved in space development. Mineralogical discoveries on a distant planet or asteroid will enhance this growth tremendously. Numerous companies in at least 20 countries are already involved in commercial space enterprises, ranging from satellite communications and remote sensing to microgravity manufacturing research and development. Service corporations such as insurance companies and promotion agencies have also become involved. In the near future, over a dozen countries will be able to launch their own satellites and, as satellites continue to crowd low space orbits, the rights of satellite power and their purpose in space will become more and more contentious.

The first real manufacturing in space took place on August 30, 1984, when Charles Walker, a McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company engineer and scientist, processed pharmaceuticals onboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. He used a procedure known as continuous flow electrophoresis which is a process of separating molecules by means of an electrical field. It had already been determined that a better separation of molecules takes place in a gravity-free environment. In the electrophoretic procedure in space, molecular separation increased by a factor of 700 and purity levels quadrupled. One of the earliest electrophoresis products may be urokinase which is an enzyme that can be taken from male urine or separated from human kidney cells and used as an anticoagulant. Current urokinase production costs in Earth laboratories are prohibitive, where a single dose can cost $1,500. An experiment conducted in 1975 on the joint Apollo-Soyuz space mission successfully separated the enzyme from the kidney cell cultures at six times the efficiency achieved to date on Earth. One analysis suggests that full-scale production of urokinase on the Shuttle or Spacelab could lower the cost to $100 per dose.2

In July 1985, polystyrene spheres went on sale as the first commercial product to have been manufactured in space. Produced onboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, where astronauts found that space manufacturing eliminates distortions in shape and size caused by gravity.3 Soon other products—advanced metals, alloys, semiconductor materials, pharmaceuticals, bubble free glass and ceramics, polymers and organic chemistry—may carry the label “Made in Space.” Space-produced gallium arsenide crystals (a product of Fairchild Industries), for example, have already become key elements in solar power systems in space and on earth, and have uses also in lasers, computer chips, fiber-optics systems and antennas.

As more products are developed in space and we witness the construction of artificial structures on Mars, whether in the fashion of Buckminster Fuller or Arthur C. Clarke, I suggest that a new type of “astro-law” will have to be established to match the scope of private enterprise activities. Astro-law will address the finer issues of liability insurance in the integration of public and private services in outer space. Astro-law will also have to define criminal jurisdiction in cases where there has been a deliberate violation of common properties.

International law may set the framework for outer space law, but when it comes to governing a large number of individuals in space, with manufacturing and mining occurring in remote areas, a different set of laws for regulating relationships will be needed. As colonies or bases are established on the moon, Mars or the La Grangian points, we must avoid dispute resolution and administration taking on its own form of self-regulation and self-governance without adherence to an international legal system. The best system might be that which has already been proposed, an “international regime,” with individual groups or colonies having some local say, as exists in the canton system of Switzerland. Theorists like Karen Cramer of the Space Policy Institute (George Washington University, Washington DC) would like to see a Lunar Users Union (LUU) or, for purposes of this paper a Mars Users Union (MUU) where those on Mars become the major decision-makers and hence not as restrictive as an international consortium from Earth.

Like the international regime, the MUU would grant rights to private enterprises and states for commercial mining and exploration and would function mainly to ensure non-interference amongst groups wishing to pursue similar interests.

Although in some cases certain terrestrial laws may no longer be applicable in space, we should realize that our laws have evolved for the protection of citizens over a 2,000 year period and that they should serve as the initial basis for any new territories. Our laws might be the one connection that these space adventurers take with them as they travel into even greater reaches of outer space. Even when self-sufficient colonies exist, the basis of the laws that we have evolved on earth should be the basis for life in space, to ensure the protection of earth citizens, wherever they travel to these colonies, and to ensure only minimum or necessary exploitation of Mars, the asteroids, or eventually other planets.

A legal framework is necessary for international cooperation in space with respect to how territorial jurisdictions will apply to temporary or permanent installations on Mars and other celestial bodies. Once precedent has been set in connection with initial, unique missions, the need for generic legal guidelines pertaining to jurisdiction and control of multinational activities can be foreseen.

A balance will be needed between Earth-based law and space law when considering off -earth production and resource removal. Preconditions might be outlined, directing dominant powers to recognize Third World interests and form cooperative alliances, providing certain availability of new technologies, data, and resources within reasonable economic limits.

Finally, international agreements will have to be worked out with scientific and logistic flexibility maintained, so that adjustments can be made for the missions to and in the Mars environment. Technical design facilities must control re-entry, retrieval and disposal techniques in all commercial payloads. Natural decay mechanisms cannot be relied on for removal. With such agreements, the necessary balance for the exploration and use of outer space and the protection of this shared universal resource may be maintained for future generations.

Space law is now only in its infancy. New branches of the discipline will probably develop into astro-law as it applies to outer space and astro-law relating to celestial bodies. So far, space law has really been earth law, but regardless of its applicability, international space law should stem from humanistic philosophies evolved from rules and forums developed here on earth.

Future Mars missions, with perhaps a joint manned mission (US-CIS-ESA) to land on the surface of Mars in the early part of the next century, will have a major impact on the development of space law in its natural environment. As people begin to remain away from the earth for extended periods and finally establish permanent residences off planet, the earth-based courts might be received by the colonists in the same way that American colonists perceived the English Privy Council—with increasing antagonism toward a distant overseer.

No doubt ecospace will be a distinctive economic/social zone. If proper laws and permits are allowed with reasonable economic and technical rewards, the commercialization and development of outer space will undoubtedly expand in the future. It is anticipated that international law will also adapt and expand to meet the challenges presented by the space frontier, in much the same fashion as US product liability principles have followed the growth of commercial aviation on earth.

Mars offers a significant opportunity to establish cooperation in exo-industrializa-tion and exo -commercialization as humanity establishes both a data bank of knowledge in the planetary sciences and a unique environment for testing new technologies. Ultimately, we as the extraterrestrials will have transformed Mars from being the traditional planetary symbol of “war” into a planet of “peace,” and we, as travelers, will take our place as homo universalis. §


1Multimedia Space Educators’ Handbook, NASA Johnson Space  Center, Houston, Texas 77058.

2 OMB / NASA Report Number S677. See also research in 1975-1978,  Edgewater Hospital, Dr. M.S. Mazel, Chicago, Il.23. Multimedia Space Educators’ Handbook, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas 77058

3 Chemical process developed by NASA and Lehigh University under  the direction of Professor John W. Vanderhoff.

Space Law2017-12-20T14:18:06+00:00

Quest to Terraform Mars

The Quest to Terraform Mars

by D. M. Hurtak, M.S.Sc.



Fig. 1 The Mars Meteorite ALH84001

As space exploration continues to bring us closer to even the more distant planets of our solar system, and as the spirit of expansion that informs western civilization remains central to so many of our terrestrial philosophies, it is easily understandable that there should emerge in the scientific community the concept of “terraforming”—the attempt to transform an alien environment into one that more closely resembles the earth’s environment, particularly in its ability to support human life. Our article presents some of the very practical notions that are currently under consideration in the hope of turning this idea into a reality in our immediate future.

In August 1996, NASA scientists publicly announced that a meteorite discovered in Antarctica showed evidence of previous microbial life. Analysis of  the meteorite’s interior revealed the same gas and chemical ratio and composition that Viking had found on Mars, leading scientists to believe that the meteorite (see Fig. 1) had originated on Mars thousands of years ago, and that Mars had once harbored life, however primitive.

Although controversy still surrounds this discovery (many scientists contend that the biological evidence in the material is not the “tubular structure of carbonates” left behind by some microscopic life form, but a set of geometries created by chemical outgasings within the rocks), scientists do agree that billions of years ago Mars was a more hospitable place, with conditions similar to those that gave rise to life on Earth. Viking and Mariner pictures of the Martian surface reveal dry river beds and drainage patterns that could only have been created by water flow (see Fig. 2).


Figure 2. Ancient Waterways on Mars
Today, temperatures on Mars are well below freezing most of the time, and no liquid water exists on the surface of the planet. Human travel to Mars in the future will most probably reveal that “life” as we understand the term no longer exists there. If humans wish to colonize and eventually inhabit the red planet, two options exist: 1) We can build space stations and underground structures as habitations, wearing space suits every time we venture out on the surface, or 2) we can terraform the planet: introduce primitive life and transform the Martian atmosphere into a climate suitable for at least some life, perhaps similar to what it was in the far distant past.

Critics might say that terraforming is simply a human attempt at “playing God”; others might wonder if other planets throughout the universe could not have been likewise selected as the platform for life by some “superior intelligence” that deposited a few microbiological life forms in the right places only to return every hundred or thousand years to see how the planet was progressing.

Earth’s history itself is one of terraforming. Scientists believe that carbon dioxide (CO2) may have made up as much as 80% of Earth’s atmosphere around 4.5 billion years ago, diminishing to 30-20% over the next 2.5 billion years. Free oxygen was scarce-to-nonexistent in this early atmosphere, and indeed poisonous to most of the anaerobic life-forms that existed.1 Through some exceptional, even Divine “Force of Nature” photosynthetic organisms evolved that transmuted carbon dioxide into oxygen. Aerobic organisms, those that utilize oxygen, later evolved, and thus so did our “perfect” atmosphere. This atmosphere not only provides the right chemical elements for breathing, but gradually changed the earth’s temperature to allow mammalian life to thrive.

The current Martian atmosphere is around 95% CO2, 3% nitrogen and 2% argon, compared to Earth’s atmosphere of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and a 1% mixture of other gases—argon, water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and ozone —all of which (except argon) have influenced the regulation of the Earth’s climate and brought the average surface temperature to a comfortable 15° C (60° F). What has become an important factor is how these “greenhouse” gases can rapidly increase, as we have seen in the 20th century manipulation, misuse and mismanagement of our ecosystem2 (see Chart 1). Yet without most of these atmospheric gases, so crucial to life, Earth would be a cold and barren planet, at least 12° C (over 50° F) colder on the average.3

Gas Concentrations
in 1880
in 1990
in 2030
Source of Increase
Carbon Dioxide
260-290 ppm 353 ppm 440-450 ppm Fossil fuels, combustion, deforestation
1.2 ppm 1.72 ppm 2.5 – 2.6 ppm Rice fields, cattle, landfill, fossil-fuel  production
Nitrous Oxide
290 ppb 310 ppb 340 ppb Nitrogenous fertilizer, biomass burning, refrigerators, deforestation, foams
CFC-12 0 ppb 0.48 ppb 1.0  – 1.1 ppb Aerosol sprays, refrigerators, foams

showing how increases can be generated in less than 150  years.
from: Reporting on Climate Change: Understanding the Science, Environmental Health
Center, A Division of the National Safety  Council.

While the atmosphere of Mars closely resembles that of primitive Earth, scientists have confirmed that Mars today has water, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. More significantly for its temperature, Mars has an atmospheric pressure that is only 1% that of Earth’s. For water to have flowed upon the Martian surface its atmosphere would have to have been thicker than it is today.

A primary factor in determining whether a planet like Mars can be terraformed is to determine if there exist (or could be introduced) sufficient greenhouse gases such as CO2 to create an atmosphere that would warm the planet at least to the point above freezing. Most scientists believe that there is a sufficient amount of CO2 on Mars, in its polar caps and in its surface soils (the regolith), to begin the terraforming process.

Two proponents of terraforming, Robert Zubrin (formerly a staff engineer at Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, now president of his own company, Pioneer Astronautics) and Chris McKay (of NASA Ames Research Center), calculate that even a 4°C (7°F) rise in surface temperature on Mars would be sufficient to initiate a process that would eventually produce the overall necessary increase of 55°C (100°F) (current temperature on Mars is an average -60°C or -76°F), bringing the average surface temperature above the freezing point, permitting water to exist once again in liquid form on the surface, and transforming a thin atmosphere of 6-10mb into one in the hundreds of mbars.4


Cross-Section of Martian Surface

Zubrin and McKay believe the place to start is with the placement of orbital solar reflective mirrors on Solar Power Satellites (SPS) that would circle the Martian poles and focus sufficient heat from the sun to begin warming the caps and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere.5 This process would not destroy the polar caps but would melt a controlled amount, sufficient to start the thickening of the Martian atmosphere and global warming. Zubrin and McKay have also calculated that a temperature rise of 10°C (18°F) could further release significant amounts of CO2 from the Martian regolith (surface soils) and increase atmospheric pressure by as much as 200-300 mbs.

Another way to introduce greenhouse gases on Mars would be by drilling to release water vapor. Scientists now suspect that the surface permafrost layer of Mars might contain pockets of water at a drilling depth of 800 meters. Liquid zones at 800 meters would release hot water as well as water vapor. Water vapor itself is an effective greenhouse gas and in its vaporous state has an important heat -trapping “greenhouse effect.” If water is not found in sufficient quantities, drilling might find and release other gases that could assist the global warming.

Another means under discussion to introduce greenhouse gases is the establishing of factories on Mars that would principally produce greenhouses gases (CFCs) through the electrolytic and chemical methods which have contributed to “global warming” on Earth. Once Mars could support even the smallest forms of life, we would artificially follow the course that earth has taken, that is, introduce primitive bacteria that produce not only carbon, but methane and ammonia—strong greenhouse gases which could later be removed from the atmosphere when the planet had warmed sufficiently.

Although Zubrin and McKay estimate that Mars would only reach an atmospheric pressure close to that of Earth’s in 1,500 to 2,500 years, this is not an outlandish time frame. Man could live and work on the planet during the process of terraforming. In fact, with the proper implementation of all four factors—mirrors, drilling, factory-produced gases (CFCs), and bacteria—it could conceivably take less than 500 years for humans to be able to walk on Mars without a space suit, wearing only a small “scuba-type” breathing apparatus around their mouths.

Once the Martian atmosphere has thickened and temperatures have risen above freezing, the final stage of terraforming can begin. At that time, in addition to bacteria, primitive plants are to be introduced to aid in transforming the abundant carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into the oxygen necessary for more advanced forms of terrestrial life. This process could take over 100 ,000 years, with established organisms slowly removing CO2 from the atmosphere through the photosynthetic use of sunlight. Sufficient greenhouse gases would have to be present to contain the heat generated during this process and prevent the planet from cooling once again. Gradually, the oxygen content would reach a level where humans could breathe, a process that occurred on Earth several billion years ago. More advanced plants could not be introduced until the atmosphere contained enough oxygen and nitrogen for their survival.

Terraforming is not an impossibility; humans begin the process and nature completes the majority of the work. Terraforming only becomes a doubtful possibility if Mars lacks sufficient reserves of CO2, water and nitrogen, elements which are essential for life as we know it. But Mars seems to have an abundance of these important elements and, as McKay sees it, terraforming would help Mars revert to an earlier state when microbial life flourished, as evidenced in the Mars meteorite. Of course, if life currently exists on Mars in any form, no matter how small, we would not want to disturb its evolutionary process and must keep a “hands off” approach. However, if no life currently exists there, why not make it a better place—not only for human generations to come, but for all the other exobiological expressions of life in the universe that may surprise us with a new definition of life.

A View of Mars from Pathfinder

A View of Mars from Pathfinder



1 Zubrin, Robert, The Case for Mars, New York: Touchstone  1997.

2 “Greenhouse Gases: Some Basics,” Reporting on Climate Change: Understanding the Science, Environmental Health Center, A Division of the  National Safety Council, 1025
Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1200, Washington, DC 20036.

3 Earth’s atmosphere presently has a carbon dioxide leve of 0.03%;  estimates are that it could
rise to 0.09% by the year 2100 as a result of human  activities.

4 Earth’s atmosphere is calculated at 14.7 lbs/in2 or  about 1,1013mb. Nadis, Steve, “Mars: The
Final Frontier,” New Scientist, Vol.141 No.1911, 5 February 1994, p. 28.

5 McKay, C., Kastings, J. and Toon, O. “Making Mars Habitable,” Nature 352 (1991) 489-496.

Quest to Terraform Mars2017-12-20T14:19:42+00:00
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