Office of Space Settlement

The BMSIS Office of Space Settlement targets science-informed policy relating to the expansion of humanity beyond Earth. Living and working on asteroids and planetary surfaces raises a suite of ethical, legal, social and political challenges currently unaddressed  or ambiguous in existing international agreements.

Bounded First Possession with Planetary Parks

This policy for space settlement would allow space agencies to make limited bounded claims on a planetary surface with limited claim to ‘exclusive economic zones’ based upon first arrival. A planetary park system would also be established by the global intellectual community to protect select nature reserve and heritage sites.

A pragmatic approach to sovereignty on Mars
S. Bruhns and J. Haqq-Misra (2016) Space Policy, in press

How to colonize Mars
S. Bruhns and J. Haqq-Misra (2016) The Guardian

The new frontier: Homesteading on Mars
J. Haqq-Misra (2015) EARTH 60(6): 8-9

Toward a sustainable land use policy for Mars
J. Haqq-Misra (2015) in Human Governance Beyond Earth: Implications for Freedom, C. Cockell (Ed.), Springer, pp 43-50

Media coverage:

The ‘Sovereign Mars’ Approach

This policy for Mars colonization seeks to establish Mars as a sovereign entity prior to the arrival of the first humans. Humans arriving on Mars would embrace a planetary citizenship as martians and relinquish their status as earthlings, along with any other property or power tied to Earth. The goal of a sovereign or liberated Mars would be to establish a second instance of civilization that can avoid some of the pitfalls of colonialism from history.

The transformative value of liberating Mars
J. Haqq-Misra (2016) New Space 4: 64-67

Liberate the Red Planet
J. Haqq-Misra (2016) The Boston Globe

Media Coverage:

Radiation and the Space Environment

Cosmic rays and other high-energy particles provide one of the biggest challenges to human space exploration. Theoretical modeling of radiation interactions with planetary atmospheres and human bodies can help to design technology and policies that maintain reasonable degrees of safety for astronauts.

Cosmic rays and terrestrial life: a brief review
D. Atri and A. Melott (2014) Astroparticle Physics 53: 186-190

Implications of radiation risk for astronauts
S. Shirsat (2015) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

Risk of radiation exposure to astronauts
A. Joshi (2015) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

One Flag In Space

This policy and initiative seek to promote the use of the Blue Marble photograph taken by the Apollo 17 crew as a symbol to unite international efforts at space exploration. This image of Earth is a symbol that anyone, anywhere in the world can relate to, regardless of nationality, ethnic origin or religious beliefs, yet does not require political collaboration between space-faring nations.

An international symbol for the sustained exploration of space
S. Som (2010) Space Policy 26: 140-142

Common identity as a step to civilization longevity
S. Som (2019) Futures 106: 37-43

Other Topics

What happens if someone dies on Mars?
S. Laskow (2016) Atlas Obscura

Can Asgardia become the first space nation?
E. Grundhauser (2016) Atlas Obscura

Prioritization in funding among competing projects
S. Çetin (2016) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

Funding space exploration: benefits beyond space
S. Silverman (2016) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

Ethics of space colonization
J. Sullivan (2016) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

Body, spirit, and the emptiness of space
M. Nalavadi (2016) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

Leaving Earth, in search of a better home…
V. Krishnamurthy (2016) BMSIS Young Scientist Program

Partners and Resources

VAERO – Vanguard Aerospace Research Organization

UN Office for Outer Space Affairs – Outer Space Treaty