The legislators of Canada approved the amendment to the Penal Code of the North American country to prosecute crimes committed in the Moon.
The bill was approved by 181 MPs against 144 who voted against and is included in a 443-page budget implementation project presented to parliament this week.
Ottawa has already expanded its jurisdiction over criminal acts committed by Canadian astronauts during space travel to the United States International Space Station.
Under this legislation, they receive the same treatment as crimes committed in Canada.
Changes due to spatial context
The change comes at a time when space flights are on the rise, and ahead of the first manned mission to the Moon over 50 years, scheduled for launch in May 2024, with a Canadian astronaut aboard the spacecraft Artemis II.
Subtitled Lunar Gateway, the Penal Code amendment reads: “A Canadian crew member who, during space flight, commits an act or omission outside the Canadathat if it were committed in Canada would be a criminal offence, he shall be deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada“.
This includes crimes en route or at the Lunar Gateway space station preparing for orbit around the Moonand also “on the surface of the Moonthe document assures.
Foreign astronauts who “threaten the life or safety of a Canadian crew member” on a space mission supported by Canada They can also be prosecuted under the bill.
The Canadian Space Agency is participating in the Lunar Gateway project, led by US NASA, along with the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
From 2026, that station will serve as a launching point for robotic and human exploration of the lunar surface, as well as travel to Mars. (AFP)
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