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Crimes committed on the Moon could be punished by Canadian law

NASA’s Artemis effort could finally get humanity back to the moon in 2025, revamping lunar exploration with enough vigor to match the Apollo years. Preparing for this future, Canadian officials say they are ready to prevent all lunar shenanigans.

Canada on Thursday proposed an amendment to its criminal code that would allow the prosecution of crimes committed by Canadian astronauts during three off-Earth scenarios: while traveling to the moon, from the moon, and while on the moon. glowing orb itself.

Specifically, the country’s proposed new code, described here in Bill C-19, reads: “A Canadian crew member who, during spaceflight, commits an act or omission outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an indictable offense is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada. »

Under this clause, it is specified that the rule applies to crimes committed “on or in connection with a flight element of the lunar gateway; on any means of transport to or from the lunar gateway; or on the surface of the moon “.

Stripping away the complexities, it all just means that Canada’s lunar explorers had better behave as best they can. No loitering near a cool crater, tossing freeze-dried ice cream wrappers on moon rocks, and certainly no stealing from a vulnerable alien, if you find one. Lunar anarchy is a thing of the past.

Canada’s criminal code already includes crimes committed by astronauts aboard the International Space Station as punishable under Canadian law, but it’s worth noting that the country’s proposed new amendment specifically includes moon-related crimes. This could have something to do with Artemis II having a Canadian astronaut on board, although there is no official statement to support such a claim.

This new extraterrestrial legislation is a step up from the much looser space law set out by the United Nations, which has not been updated since 1967. space between Russia and the United States decades ago and more or less leaves moon-related consequences to the case-by-case discretion of the country associated with the accused.

Maybe we’ll soon see other countries follow in Canada’s footsteps, gearing up for the next generation of lunar exploration – and maybe even deep-space adventures – because, well, everywhere there are humans, there is a possibility of error. Even on the moon.

Corrected, 5/3: An earlier version of this story misrepresented the status of the legislation. This is currently a proposal under consideration.


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