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Event Details

Panel Discussion 7 — Environmental governance as examples for space governance


Friday, November 4, 2022


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. CET (UTC +1)


Elke Kellner, Arizona State University, USA
Marco Janssen, Arizona State University, USA


Anne-Sophie Martin, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Manuel Chávez-Angeles, Observatorio de la Biodiversidad y el Cambio Climático, Mexico
Michael Turner, Project Persephone, Japan


The pre-recorded presentations mentioned below will be available ahead of the conference and need to be watched before the panel discussion takes place.

Pre-recorded Presentations
Deep Seabed Regulations: a Model for Space Mining Activities?

Anne-Sophie Martin, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy

Abstract: Currently, the International Seabed Authority (ISA), through its member states, is developing regulations to govern deep sea mineral mining in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Seabed Authority has a two-fold task: to provide countries with equal opportunity and access to deep seabed mining, and to protect the marine environment from the harmful impacts of deep sea mining. The presentation discusses the value of establishing such an organisation (bodies, functions, tasks) in the context of space mining activities in order to coordinate activities on celestial bodies and to manage the exploration and exploitation of space resources.
The presentation also analyses the “Mining Code” which refers to the set of rules, regulations and procedures issued by the ISA to regulate the prospecting, exploration and exploitation of marine minerals in the International Seabed Area. Between 2000 and 2013, ISA adopted sets of exploration regulations covering the prospecting and exploration of polymetallic nodules for instance. Then, ISA began developing regulations to govern the exploitation of mineral resources in the Area in 2014. The objective of the mining regulations is to balance economic needs with rigorous environmental protection. Once in place, the regulations will require any entity planning to undertake activities in the Area to comply with strict global environmental requirements, and to share the benefits according to “equitable sharing criteria”. These concepts and notions are of particular interest in the case of space mining activities.

What can we learn from Kessler syndrome about debris on Earth’s oceans? A system dynamics approach

Manuel Chávez-Angeles, Observatorio de la Biodiversidad y el Cambio Climático, Mexico

Abstract: The Kessler syndrome is a hypothetical scenario in which the density of objects in low Earth orbit due to artificial satellites is high enough that collisions between objects could cause a cascade in which each collision generates space debris that increases the likelihood of further collisions. The prediction of Kessler syndrome is that a number of such accidental collisions will accumulate in space and debris will eventually have to be removed from orbit. On Earth, debris is also found in oceans. Marine debris can be defined as any persistent solid material that is manufactured and disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment. The so called, Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the largest of five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California and is the size of Mexico. A similar anthropogenic accumulation of waste in the oceans is the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt (GASB). Caused by the used of fertilizers in the Amazon river basin, the GASB is seasonal and can be observed in satellite imagery since 2011, often extending from the Gulf of Mexico to West Africa. The Kessler model for space debris can provide insight for understanding the GPGP and the GASB. At the same time, the international institutional regimes created for GPGP and GASB can provide insight for cooperation on debris removal in low Earth orbit. The paper developes a system dynamics approach for modeling and comparing the three cases. The paper also makes a review of international treaties for each case.