Do we consider extraterrestrial life when create laws to regulate outer space?


Julio D. Carbajal Smith

Mexico City

Imagining extraterrestrial life—from UFO sitings to the possibility of real intelligence— we pause to think. Some of us are afraid. Some truly want to see life outside of Earth. Some are oblivious. Like many, I really do not believe we are alone. How many galaxies are out there?  How many stars within those galaxies and how many planets circling those stars? I feel like it is egotistical to assume we are the only ones in the universe.

So, what if there is life?

I am a lawyer, and so I am interested in international law and in  law in outer space. I ask myself if we, human beings, are entitled to create  bodies of law pertaining to outer space which would impact forms of extraterrestrial life. I am, of course, aware of the  international space treaties  which are already in place, but I wonder if we have gotten these right. Several entities have taken up this topic. The United Nations is crucial to this discussion. It is the most important international organization in  the world, its membership containing delegates from more than one hundred and fifty countries, in particular, I would draw attention to the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

The International Astronautical Federation is another entity  whose membership is working o the problems of space law, that holds meetings interested in space law. Asgardia is another.

Its website lists three  goals:

1.- To ensure the peaceful use of space, 

2.- To protect the Earth from space hazards, and 

3-. To create a demilitarized and free scientific base of knowledge in space.

And these are not the only ones.  there are  also SETI and METI. 

It’s clear that efforts concerning regulation, and development of outer space activities are  practically everywhere, but my question is this: Are these entities taking the idea of extraterrestrial life seriously?  Or are they primarily concerned with human activities? What changes would they need to make to include the rights of intelligent, extraterrestrial beings?