Four awesome scifi jobs the UN eliminated, and one they created

Illustration for article titled Four awesome scifi jobs the UN eliminated, and one they created

The United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs has the text of its treaties up on its site. Find out which jobs these space sheriffs outlawed, and which they created.


Space: the final frontier. Or maybe not. Since the sixties, the UN has been coming up with laws that apply to this frontier, with reckless disregard for the potential coolness they toss aside when doing so. Find out about five careers that you can't have, thanks to that meddling UN, and one career that you can still shoot for.


This job combines the adventure and excitement of two genres, Westerns and Sci-Fi, adds a dash of Little House on the Prairie, and uses it to put a sparkle in kids' eyes. Imagine soaring out into the unknown, landing on a distant planet, and with making it into your home using only the sweat of your brow and the grit in your craw.


Well not anymore. Right off the bat, in 1967, the UN declared colonization outlawed.

"Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means."

Just because you live there, doesn't mean you own the place. In 1979, they reaffirmed this.

"The provisions of this Agreement relating to the Moon shall also apply to other celestial bodies within the solar system, other than the Earth."


Well, thank goodness they left us the earth. Go find a frontier there. I'm sure there are plenty.


Illustration for article titled Four awesome scifi jobs the UN eliminated, and one they created

After that first provision, it's not like anyone was holding out much hope for military colonization, but UN doesn't leave anything to chance.

"States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the Earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner.

The Moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military manoeuvres on celestial bodies shall be forbidden."


No lunar nuclear tester jobs. No Martian military contractors. No orbiting nuclear space subs. It's like they don't even want the global economy to recover. This is a great loss for warmongers, kids who want to crawl commando-style through Martian sand, and filmmakers who want to be able to set historical movies about guerilla-style war somewhere other than a desert or a jungle.


In 1972 the UN decided to tackle liability for damage caused by space missions. While other treaties were all about cooperation, the spirit of scientific inquiry, and telling people that just shoving a flag somewhere didn't mean they owned the place, this was about practical measures, and thus turned out to be one of the longer documents. The purpose of the treaty was to iron out who was responsible financially for injury, loss of property, or loss of life caused by launched space craft. It starts off with this:

" The term "launching" includes attempted launching;"

You know someone tried to weasel their way out of a bill. This one is reasonable until you think of how much fun it would be to be a launch referee, deciding things like whether the ‘five second rule' applies to the sky as well as to the floor.



Under normal circumstances, when damage is caused, one country presents another one with a damage claim. The UN
recognizes, though, that not all countries are on good terms. In what is, I think, a spectacularly passive aggressive part of the liability treaty, the UN deals with the situation.

"If a State does not maintain diplomatic relations with the launching State concerned, it may request another State to present its claim to that launching State or otherwise represent its interests under this Convention."
"I'm not talking to them. Psssst. You give them the bill."


Okay, yes, this might smooth over some conflict. But imagine Sylvester Stallone barreling his way through a compound, punching, jumping off buildings, getting into shoot-outs on top of trains, only to crash through a window, do a roll over one shoulder, slap an envelope down on and yell, "You've been served!"


Illustration for article titled Four awesome scifi jobs the UN eliminated, and one they created

Governments don't like paying out huge amounts of money. They do like receiving them. This means that, when a bill for spacecraft-related damage is delivered, it is often disputed. When this happens, a committee of three people is formed. One person comes from the claimant state. One comes from the state which will have to open its coffers. Guess which way both of those people will vote.

The United Nations, having foreseen this, declared that a third person would be on the commission; a chairman. If neither state can agree on a chairman, the UN will appoint one, and he or she will examine the evidence and be the deciding vote on how much money is paid out for damages.


That's not a job, it's a John Grisham novel. With the potential for flying around the moon in jetpacks examining space rubble, which is something his other novels have unfortunately not included. So don't despair. Sure, you'll never be able to plant a hardy crop of space corn, but you may one day be able to extort money from two governments in exchange for consideration on their case while jetpacking away from illegal lunar assassins. Every kid's dream.

Via: OOSA and OOSA.


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Dr Emilio Lizardo

Good to see that the UN has extended their lack of authority over earthly affairs to a lack of authority over extraterrestrial affairs.