Prof. Danielle Wood on Science Friday: As space exploration expands, so will space law

Almost 70 years ago—in the middle of the Cold War—the United States and the Soviet Union kicked off the race to space, and that high-stakes sprint transformed humanity’s relationship with space forever. Ultimately the USSR launched the first satellite, Sputnik, and the U.S. put the first humans on the moon.

Now we’re in a different space race. But this time, there are a lot more contenders. There are more satellites in orbit than ever before, NASA is trying to put humans on Mars, countries are still sending landers to the moon, and billionaires are using rockets as tourist vehicles. All this activity raises some serious questions: Who is in charge of space? And who makes the rules?

Journalist Khari Johnson explored these questions in a recent feature for Wired magazine, featuring experts at the forefront of these issues. Guest host Sophie Bushwick is joined by two of them: Dr. Timiebi Aganaba, assistant professor of space and society at Arizona State University, and Dr. Danielle Wood, assistant professor and director of the Space Enabled Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They discuss the role of space lawyers, what cases they may argue, and how the rules of space—and the potential for conflicts—are evolving.