Should the Moon have legal rights?

April 12, 2023
10:00 am - 11:30 am (AEST)
Online (via Zoom)

Corporations and governments around the world are making plans to return to the Moon, and not just to visit our celestial neighbour, but to mine its minerals, extract its water and create permanent settlements for further space exploration.

Do human beings have a right to extract resources from the Moon? What will the impacts be? Who's making these decisions? And what are the alternatives?

Join us as we discuss what's planned for the Moon, the risks and threats posed to the Moon and to Earth, and what type of governance strategies might be put in place to protect the Moon from harm, including recognising the moon as a legal entity.

** This event is being held on 'Yuri's night' which is a global acknowledgment of the first person to go into space. For more information about Yuri's night visit:


DR MICHELLE MALONEY, National Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance



Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. Her research on space exploration has been featured in National Geographic, New Scientist, and Archaeology magazine. She is a faculty member of the International Space University's Southern Hemisphere Space Program in Adelaide. Her book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (NewSouth Publishing, MIT Press, 2019) won the NIB Award People's Choice and the John Mulvaney Book Award, as well as being shortlisted for the NSW and Queensland Premier's Awards and the Adelaide Festival Awards. She has worked extensively in Indigenous heritage management, providing advice for mining industry, urban development, government departments, local councils and Native Title groups in NSW, WA, SA and Queensland. She is also a specialist in stone tool analysis, and the Aboriginal use of bottle glass after European settlement. Alice is a member of the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia, a member of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and President of the Anthropological Society of South Australia. She tweets as @drspacejunk.


Dr. Cassandra Steer is Deputy Director of the Australian National University Institute for Space (InSpace), with a focus on Mission Specialists. Globally recognised for her expertise in space governance, space law, and space security, she has published widely on these topics, including the application of the law of armed conflict and use of force in outer space. She has consulted to the Australian, Canadian and U.S Departments of Defence, the Australian Space Agency and Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on these issues. She has taught space law and space security at McGill university, the ANU College of Law, the National Security College and the Australian Defence College. Dr Steer is co-founder of the Australian Centre for Space Governance (ACGS), which brings together experts in space law, space policy, space history, space ethics, space security, space property, and political and social sciences applied to space, from seven different universities. She has represented the ACSG at the UN, and brokered research, education and policy contracts on behalf of the ACSG with the ACT Government, the Australian Space Agency, the Department of Defence, DFAT, Geoscience Australia, and some Australian law firms.


Dr. Eytan Tepper is a Visiting Assistant Professor and Director of the Space Governance Lab at Indiana University Bloomington, where he is affiliated with both the Maurer School of Law the Ostrom Workshop and teaches Space Governance and Space-Cybersecurity. Dr. Tepper earned his doctorate from the McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law and subsequently pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the New York University (NYU) School of Law. His research focus is space law and governance, and he leads several projects for which he obtained external funding from grant agencies in Canada and the US: “Space – Cyber Governance”, “Corporate Sovereigns: The Governance of Space Exploration Corporations”, and the Carnegie-funded project: “Polycentric Multilateralism: Reimagining the Roles of International Institutions in Space Governance and Beyond”. He has published in journals like the NYU Journal of International Law and Politics, Journal of Space Law, Space Policy, and New Space and has two book contracts with Cambridge and Springer. Prior to his return to academe, he was a practicing lawyer with a career spanning the public and private sectors, representing government ministries and Fortune 500 companies.   


Mari Margil is one of the leading global voices for the recognition of legally enforceable rights of ecosystems and nature. She serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER) ( and as program manager for CDER’s International Center for the Rights of Nature. In 2008, she served as a consultant to Ecuador’s national Constituent Assembly, helping to draft the world’s first rights of nature constitutional provisions. She  She is co-author of The Bottom Line or Public Health (Oxford University Press, 2010) and Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Wakefield Press, 2011).


The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA - is interested in how we care for life on earth, and how we interact with the wider universe and cosmos. We see the Moon as an evolutionary companion and an essential part of life on Earth. To stimulate discussion and wider engagement about the future of the Moon, AELA was one of the drafters of the 'Declaration for the Rights of the Moon' - visit the website to find out more -