This month’s 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon mission has sparked a renewed interest in space. Frans von der Dunk, Perlman Alumni and Othmer Professor of Space Law at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, has been called upon several times in recent weeks to share his expertise.
He participated in the July 24 episode of The Conversation’s To the Moon and Beyond podcast, during which he was asked whether he could envision a space war breaking out and what it might look like.
“It will probably start first on the level of a trade war … but that can already do a lot of damage to everyone around,” he said. “But if things further escalate as we’ve seen in the past, economic wars can also then escalate into real fighting, and I can only say I hope that never happens.”
Von der Dunk was interviewed for a July 24 Vice article on whether nations are allowed to colonize the moon. He discussed the 1967 Outer Space Treaty — to which all spacefaring nations have agreed — which established the moon and other celestial bodies as global commons to be shared between all nations.
He was also interviewed for a July 24 Reuters article on the new space race. He said much needs to be clarified regarding space law, including whether companies can claim ownership over space minerals, how such access should be granted and how to deal with the growing amount of “space junk” circling the earth.
On July 20, von der Dunk discussed the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and who owns the moon on “The Craig Silverman Show” on KNUS.
He also participated in a June 30 panel discussion as part of the RTL Luxembourg Asteroid Day TV marathon. The panelists talked about space-resource utilization and the international frameworks that need to be put in place.
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