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91 votes
Accepted

Why does NASA publish all the results/data it gets?

It's required to by the legislation that created it, the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. FUNCTIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION Sec. 203. (a) The Administration, in order to carry out the ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
54 votes
Accepted

Is it legal to steal the American flag from the moon?

How to Protect and Preserve the Historic and Scientific Value of U.S. Government Lunar Artifacts summarizes the 1967 Outer Space Treaty thusly: These recommendations are consistent with international ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
43 votes

What crimes have been committed or attempted in space?

There's the following gem in the Apollo 13 transcript, regarding astronaut Jack Swigert: 024:18:10 CC Okay. Some truck lines are being struck in the Midwest, and the school teachers have walked off ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
42 votes

Why does NASA publish all the results/data it gets?

I drive by it every day... We do it for the benefit of all: Really though, the government has a vested interest in making sure we (the United States) remain a technology leader in the world because ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 691
26 votes

What crimes have been committed or attempted in space?

The crew of Apollo 7 defied many orders from mission control, due to a crowded schedule, a lack of sleep, and the commander's head cold. Because all three were active members of the military at the ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
24 votes

Why does NASA publish all the results/data it gets?

Because they're scientists, and publishing your results is what scientists do. There's a reason why the final step of basically every research methodology used in academia is "publish your results" (...
nick012000's user avatar
23 votes

What crimes have been committed or attempted in space?

Does mutiny count? If so, then I submit an incident back in 1973 involving the Skylab 4 crew who, citing excessive work load and not enough rest, stopped communicating with the ground stations and did ...
noughtnaut's user avatar
22 votes
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Is it possible to get married in space?

Many jurisdictions recognize weddings performed out-of-jurisdiction provided that those weddings are legal in the jurisdiction they're performed in. Unfortunately, there's no legal authority with ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
18 votes
Accepted

What computer programs does ITAR say I can or can not write, or share, or use in the US?

With the exception of model rockets made of paper, wood, or breakable plastic, that are passively stabilized, that have low thrust and low delta V, and that do not have guidance software, launch ...
David Hammen's user avatar
  • 75.1k
18 votes

Is it legal to steal the American flag from the moon?

Possession is 9/10 of the law. If you somehow get there and steal the flag, it's not like any Space Marines are going to jump out from behind a crater rim. Law needs to be enforceable. Maintaining ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.2k
16 votes
Accepted

What is stopping us from starting to terraform Mars right now?

A few of reasons for not mounting such a terraforming mission now are: Cost-effectiveness. It's expensive to go to Mars, and simply throwing some seeds and fertilizer at the place is too unlikely to ...
Anthony X's user avatar
  • 17.6k
14 votes

What crimes have been committed or attempted in space?

I believe this has not been settled in court yet, but astronaut Anne McClain has been accused of illegally accessing her estranged spouse's bank account from a computer on the ISS: Then, earlier this ...
bjmc's user avatar
  • 241
13 votes
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moon structure ownership

There are two schools of thought discussed in Asteroid Mining: International and Legal Aspects by Frans G. von der Dunk: Perspective 1: The US and countries like Luxembourg believe that any resources ...
Prashanth Chandrasekar's user avatar
12 votes

Would NASA be financially self-sufficient if it could keep all revenues from patents?

This is actually built on a false premise. NASA can, and does, charge for patent usage. See this page for what it takes to get a NASA patent license. Note this: including higher royalties Or this ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
12 votes

Would NASA be financially self-sufficient if it could keep all revenues from patents?

The question how much revenue might arise from a patent isn't something that can generally be proved or disproved (except sometimes in retrospect). Bear in mind, though, that the Apollo program was ...
terry-s's user avatar
  • 1,092
11 votes
Accepted

Can I make a completely ITAR-free spaceship?

No Here's what ITAR says about launch vehicles Category IV - Launch Vehicles, Guided Missiles, Ballistic Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes, Bombs, and Mines (a) Rockets, space launch vehicles (...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 7,905
11 votes
Accepted

Can the Indian government ask SpaceX to pay for bandwidth usage in its airspace?

In order to transmit from a country, one must have a license to do so, with the exception of some spaces without specific owners, like WiFi's 2.4 GHz that allows small narrow transition can work. It ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
10 votes

At what height does it become international territory / outer space, instead of state-controlled air territory?

There is no internationally agreed-upon definition of "outer space", or delimitation between outer space and airspace. The 1967 Outer Space Treaty does not contain a definition of the term "outer ...
SpaceLawyer's user avatar
  • 1,438
10 votes

Is it possible to get married in space?

After reviewing the Canon Law, it should be possible to get married in space in a way accepted by the Catholic Church. Many countries accept a Catholic marriage as valid into their own jurisdiction ...
Ángel's user avatar
  • 201
10 votes
Accepted

Might ISRO's 2018-004 launch be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty by India?

Sorry for being a few weeks late to this, but hopefully I can shed some light on how to think about it. The ISRO launch of these satellites is legally problematic in several ways. First, and as ...
SpaceLawyer's user avatar
  • 1,438
10 votes
Accepted

Do owners of reentering spacecraft notify the countries' whose airspace they are likely to violate and seek permission?

tl;dr: Do owners of reentering spacecraft notify the countries' whose airspace they are likely to violate and seek permission? No, there is no requirement for notification, and in most instances ...
Carlos N's user avatar
  • 4,474
10 votes
Accepted

What protocol is in place if an astronaut kills another astronaut in or around the ISS?

There are two things about such an action that must be considered: what happens on the station itself so that the crew can protect themselves, and what happens once the crew returns. To the first ...
Michael Stachowsky's user avatar
10 votes

Can the Indian government ask SpaceX to pay for bandwidth usage in its airspace?

The answer is No, largely based on the fact that India is a signatory to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. If you pick a country that didn’t sign any of the patchwork of treaties covering space, it could ...
Anthony Stevens's user avatar
9 votes

Might ISRO's 2018-004 launch be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty by India?

The satellites were launched on a vehicle operated by the indian government, with (at least implicit) permission of India. This is clearly not a violation of the Outer Space Treaty, it only means ...
Rainer P.'s user avatar
  • 1,172
9 votes

Is there any regulation against sending stuff to space that you don't need there, like the Tesla roadster?

Yes, there are regulations, they have all been observed. SpaceX needed a boilerplate payload to showcase Falcon 9 Heavy. Something was going to go up there. So, the premise of your question is wrong, ...
Polygnome's user avatar
  • 6,956
9 votes

Is it illegal for a private citizen of the US to own and operate an orbital kinetic weapons platform?

The legal definition of "Weapon of Mass Destruction" in US law is quite broad (see https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/04/definition_of_w.html ), and an orbital kinetic weapon definitely ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
9 votes

Why does NASA publish all the results/data it gets?

NASA is not a stand-alone thing. It is the civilian part of the space industry, and partially, the military industry of the USA. They work together. For example: they publish the photos, what the ...
peterh's user avatar
  • 3,298
9 votes
Accepted

How can I view the Voyager golden record images?

For free, but low-resolution: Small versions of all1 the images are included in the book Murmurs of Earth by Sagan etc. Chapter 3 "Pictures of Earth" includes a visual index and then ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
8 votes

Can I make a completely ITAR-free spaceship?

Any rocket capable of putting a spacecraft in orbit is going to fall under Category IV, paragraph (a), subparagraph (1), (2), or (4). Under Note 3 to paragraph (a), it explicitly calls out model and ...
Tristan's user avatar
  • 17.3k
8 votes

What crimes have been committed or attempted in space?

The bible-reading from lunar orbit on Apollo-8 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8_Genesis_reading)lead to a court hearing claiming a violation of First Amendment separation of church and state. ...
DJohnM's user avatar
  • 1,371

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