Elon Musk’s SpaceX Will Make Its Own Laws On Mars

by : Hannah Smith on : 28 Oct 2020 17:37
PA Images / Wikimedia

SpaceX’s Elon Musk has revealed that they will not abide by international law on Mars.

Instead, the company plans to define its own set of ‘self-governing principles’ for the first Martian settlement.


The company made the low-key announcement by slipping it into the terms and conditions of their new Starlink satellite broadband service.


In the terms of service agreement, Starlink writes:

For services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonisation spacecraft, the parties recognise Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities.

Accordingly, disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.


A broadband contract might seem like an odd place to reveal your plans for governing an entirely new extra-terrestrial settlement, but as The Independent reports, any future colony on Mars will most likely be reliant on Starlink satellites orbiting the planet to for internet connection and communications.

Elon Musk has repeatedly said he hopes to launch the first non-crewed mission to Mars in 2024, and last week said his company was planning an ‘acid-test’ for human settlement on the planet by creating a self-sustaining city.

Speaking to the Mars Society, Musk said making humanity a multi-planetary species was his top priority, but added that it was unlikely a self-sustaining city on Mars would be created in his lifetime.

He said:


This is really about minimising existential risk for civilisation as a whole, and then having an exciting future that you can look forward to.

A future where we are a space-faring civilisation and a multi-planetary species is far more exciting than one where we are not.

Hannah Smith

Starlink is currently rolling out beta testing of its network back on Earth, and has around 800 satellites in orbit.

And while the company may be planning its own legal system for the Red planet, it’s reassuring to know that the terms of service say that on Earth and the Moon, Starlink will abide by the laws of the state of California.


This finders keepers-style approach to space exploration will like be met with some disagreement from those working in field of space exploration.

But it’s not the first time someone has tried to set rules for space travel. The Earthlight Foundation – a non-profit working to promote the ‘expansion of humanity away from Earth’ – has previously published the Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Humanity in the Universe, which laid out a framework for how humans should conduct themselves off Earth. The Declaration states that space is ‘considered free, by all, for all and to all.’

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The Independent
  1. The Independent

    Elon Musk's SpaceX will make its own laws on Mars