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Astronomical Withdrawals: A Green Criminological Examination of Extreme Energy Mining on Extraterrestrial Objects

Lampkin, Jack Adam ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5104-8758 and McClanahan, Bill (2023) Astronomical Withdrawals: A Green Criminological Examination of Extreme Energy Mining on Extraterrestrial Objects. Crime, Law and Social Change, 81 (4). pp. 365-384.

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Mining for natural resources on Earth is commonplace and dates back over a hundred years at an industrial scale. Technological advances in outer space exploration are
enabling the mining of extraterrestrial resources to transition from mere science fiction, to a serious possibility. In recent decades, several new start-up companies have arisen with the sole intention of exploiting resources that exist in outer space, such as on Earth’s moon, asteroids, meteorites, planets, and various planetary satellites, such as the moons of Mars (Phobos and Diemos). Despite the increased investment andinterest in space mining, criminologists have remained virtually silent on outer space issues. In this paper we adopt a green criminological approach to explain the emergence of outer space mining, and argue that now is the time to be researching and debating the phenomenon of extraterrestrial mining in order to prevent future social and environmental harm (following the precautionary principle of environmental
law). To do this, the paper does three things. First, it examines strategies for conducting space mining (such as its feasibility, probable locations, and innovative
mining techniques). Second, it analyses the terrestrial and extraterrestrial impacts of space mining, unveiling several avenues for the creation of social and environmental
harm. Finally, it uses a green criminological approach to justify the rationale for engaging legal scholars and criminologists with problematic space mining issues. The
paper concludes that now is the time to discuss these issues, prior to the industrialisation and exploitation of unique celestial bodies.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-023-10123-9
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
School/Department: York Business School
Institutes: Institute for Social Justice
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/8812

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