On January 27, 1967, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies. More commonly referred to as the Outer Space Treaty this agreement has been signed and ratified by 102 countries, while an additional 27 nations have signed, but not yet ratified the treaty. The Outer Space Treaty establishes a legal framework for international space law. The treaty outlaws any nation from placing nuclear weapons or other Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) in outer space. Furthermore, the law that states that the Moon and any other celestial bodies must be used for only peaceful purposes and for scientific study, not for testing weapons or for the installation of military bases. Despite the restrictions on WMDs, the treaty does not ban placing conventional weapons in orbit like small arms, non-nuclear bombs and land mines.
If a nation were to discover a new planet or celestial body, it would not be able to claim sovereignty over this object because outer space exploration should be done to benefit all countries. Although a nation cannot claim ownership of an object found in outer space, any country that launches an object into space is responsible for the control and jurisdiction of that object. According to Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty, states share the responsibility of ensuring that any activities by a government or non-governmental agency are peaceful and do not harm the exploration and use of outer space.
Space exploration has led to increased international cooperation from countries around the world. Instead of vying for control of outer spac...
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