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Ottawa (AFP) – Canadian lawmakers were set to vote on Thursday to amend the country’s criminal code to allow crimes committed on the moon to be prosecuted.
The proposal to amend the law – which is expected to be approved – was included in the 443-page budget implementation draft that was submitted to Parliament this week.
Ottawa has already expanded its jurisdiction over criminal acts committed by Canadian astronauts during space travel to the International Space Station.
Under this legislation, they are treated the same as crimes committed in Canada.
The update comes as the number of space flights grows, and ahead of the first manned mission to the Moon in more than 50 years, scheduled for launch in May 2024, aboard a Canadian spacecraft aboard the Artemis II.
An amendment to the Penal Code under the Lunar Gateway reads: “A member of the Canadian crew who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada which, if committed in Canada constitutes a punishable offense, shall be deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada.” .
This could include crimes en route or at the Lunar Gateway space station preparing to orbit the Moon, as well as “on the surface of the Moon,” the document says.
According to the bill, foreign astronauts who “endanger the life or safety of a Canadian crew member” on a Canadian-backed space mission could also be prosecuted.
The Canadian Space Agency is participating in the Moon Gate project, led by the US NASA, together with the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
From 2026, this station will serve as a springboard for robotic and human exploration of the lunar surface, as well as for trips to Mars.
© 2022 AFP