With claims that by 2040 the moon will support a population of more than 1,000 people, and another 10,000 will be visiting the moon in that same year, attention is turning to the role that the law and lawyers will play in space exploration.

President of the Law Society of NSW, Elizabeth Espinosa, said that extremely rapid developments in space exploration have left the law – and to an extent the legal profession – racing to keep up.

“Near space is abuzz with human initiated activity as we strive towards a sustainable future beyond Earth,” Ms Espinosa said.

“Thanks to modern satellite technology, most of us are using space multiple times throughout the day – for internet banking, browsing the web, withdrawing money at an ATM or streaming TV.

“In the not too distant future, there are plans for private tourism, mining for water and rare minerals, 3D printing in space and tracking the tens of thousands of objects larger than a softball currently in the earth’s near orbit.

“With private companies like Moon Express, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin setting their sights on missions to the moon in 2021 and beyond, the space race is no longer between countries, it’s between companies.

“In April this year, Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos filed an application with the International Telecoms Union, outlining his plan to send up a constellation of 3,000 satellites to provide fast internet - however, his main game is creating “a road to space” and making deliveries to the moon as routine as Amazon Prime deliveries to your door.

“And only last week Elon Musk’s new passenger spacecraft, the “Crew Dragon,” successfully tested its emergency abort engines on the ground, paving the way for crucial test flights in the months ahead.”

With the legal environment about to become a lot more extra-terrestrial, the Law Society of NSW’s final Thought Leadership event for 2019 on Monday 18 November, 2019, will examine “Smart Law for Deep Space”.

Donna Lawler, Co-Founder and Principal, Azimuth, will facilitate the panel discussion with the following space law experts:

• Kirby Ikin, Managing Director, Asia Pacific Aerospace Consultants (APAC)

• Professor Steven Freeland, Professor of International Law, Western Sydney University

• Annie Handmer, PhD Student, University of Sydney School of History and Philosophy of Science and Host of Space Junk Podcast.


Sue Finn | Media and Public Relations Manager
The Law Society of New South Wales
T: +61 2 9926 0288 | M: +61 413 440 699 | E: