Chicago Journal of International Law

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The rise of the commercial space industry endangers the preservation of environments, such as the lunar surface and other celestial bodies, with the threat of contamination and resource exploitation. In the coming decades, flights to space will become commonplace—but at present, there is no way to hold outer space polluters accountable. The existing international legal regime is weak, with the United Nations’ space treaties offering limited enforcement mechanisms against offenders. The increasingly popular concept of environmental personhood offers a solution by rethinking the meaning of a juridical person within the text of the United Nations Outer Space, Space Liability, and Moon treaties. Utilizing the International Court of Justice, outer space environmentalists can seek to recognize celestial bodies as juridical persons and gain third-party standing to protect the rights of the Moon and seek damages for environmental degradation. Through the exploration of contentious and advisory avenues within the International Court of Justice, this Comment advances a new way of thinking to save extraterrestrial environments.

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