Science & Tech

Canadian astronauts cannot commit crimes in space anymore thanks to new legislation

Canadian astronauts cannot commit crimes in space anymore thanks to new legislation
SpaceX Crew-4 mission arrived at ISS

Astronauts from Canada will not be allowed to commit crimes in space thanks to the country introducing a new amendment.

While it’s hard to imagine that there’s a lot of crime and lawlessness taking place in space, nevertheless the new legislation has been put in place by the Canadian government as part of their 2022 federal budget.

Mapped as part of a 443-page document for the federal budget, the legislation from the budget reads: "A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission Canada that if committed in Canada would constitute an indictable offence is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada,” The National Postreported.

Therefore in the unlikely event that a Canadian astronaut commits a crime in space, then they will be greeted with an arrest warrant and handcuffs upon their return to Earth.

This new legislation comes with Canada’s participation in the Nasa mission Lunar Gateway, with the aim to set up a permanent space station in lunar orbit.

The Canadian Space Agency say the new station which is around "one-sixth of the size of the ISS (International Space Station)," will be used as "a science laboratory; a testbed for new technologies; a rendezvous location for exploration of the surface of the moon; a mission control centre for operations on the moon; and one day, a stepping stone for voyages to Mars."

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Described as "the next major international collaboration in human space exploration," crews of four astronauts will be able to spend up to three months at a time living and researching at least once a year, unlike the ISS there won’t be a continuous crew on board.

So it seems that before all of this that if Canadian astronauts had committed what is considered a crime here on Earth up in space then they faced no repercussions or punishments.

However, there is a 1998 treaty – of which Canada is a signatory - that already states that astronauts who board the International Space Station are subject to the criminal jurisdiction of their home country.

Though if an astronaut commits a crime against a crew member of a different nationality then both countries would need to deliberate "respective prosecutorial interests".

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