Nearly 60 years after we first launched a satellite outside of the Earth's atmosphere, the first space businesses are being formed, from asteroid mining to orbiting hotels (and we've never been so happy to write a sentence). Of course, since we can't just let space businesses do whatever we want, lest the Universe gradually turns into Cowboy Bebop, the countries of the world have started developing space law. One such space lawyer traversing the final legal frontier is Sagi Kfir, who acts as legal counsel for an asteroid mining company, trying to determine the answers to legal questions that nobody has ever thought to ask before, such as "Does an asteroid mining company own the materials it gathers from an asteroid?" That problem was settled in the 2015 U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, but what happens if there's an industrial accident on the asteroid? Who is liable if acid-blooded aliens swarm out of its depths and kill everyone?
And it's more than Mr. Kfir thinking about these issues. In fact, space law was a thing long before you might expect, existing when man was but a primate looking longingly at the stars like they were some unreachable divinity: 1959. That's the year the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was created to regulate space law. Up until now, they've mainly been dealing with nutballs like Dennis Hope, a San Franciscan who tried to register the Moon, gave himself the title of "Head Cheese," and billed all moon-walking nations $55,000 for littering. But with the rise of space-minded billionaires picking up NASA's slack, new issues have presented themselves with hilarious Futurama-inspired terms like "orbital jurisdiction," "space tourism liability," and "spacecraft tort" -- which sounds both confusing and delicious. It looks like space lawyers will have a great impact on the next century, filling the gaps between the stars with as much confusing paperwork as they can.