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Sidebar: Space, the new wild west

Space, so it goes, is the final frontier. And a new legal one. No one owns it (yet), so who gets to make badly needed intergalactic law? And can we start by criminalizing littering our orbit with space junk?

Welcome to season three of Sidebar! You'll want to strap in while we bring you closer to the stars as new technology and more investors bring us deeper into space. Science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact. One thing rarely discussed in your favorite sci-fi movies is the laws that govern outer space. 

If billions of dollars, dozens of political manifestos and decades of Trekkie dreams come to fruition, there is nothing protecting man's interstellar impression. Even Neil Armstrong's footprint on the moon could go unprotected.

And what about all that space junk? Thousands of active satellites, inactive satellites, pieces of rockets, debris and uncategorized things are out there, floating around our planet. All are governed by little more than the Outer Space Treaty of 1967.

Special guests:

Sidebar tackles the top stories you need to know from the legal world. Join reporters Hillel Aron, Kirk McDaniel, Amanda Pampuro and Nina Pullano as they take you in and out of courtrooms in the U.S. and beyond and break down developments to help you understand how they affect your day-to-day life.

Kirk McDaniel produced this episode. Intro music by The Dead Pens. A transcript of this episode is available.

Editorial staff is Bill Dotinga, Sean Duffy and Jamie Ross.

For more from us on the final frontier:

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