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Looking into the Past: Space Telescopes and the Law of Outer Space

In Custodia Legis: “The following is a guest post by Louis Myers, a legal reference librarian at the Law Library of Congress. Louis has authored several blog posts for In Custodia Legis, including New Acquisition: The Trial of Governor Picton, A Case of Torture in Trinidad and Indigenous Law Research Strategies: Settlement Acts. Today, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is scheduled to reach its intended destination at the second Lagrange point, ushering in a new era of space exploration. It will be undergoing diagnostics and testing for the next six months, so in the meantime, today’s post looks at the JWST project, other joint space initiatives, and some international laws on this topic. The JWST is a joint venture among the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), and the European Space Agency (ESA). The Webb telescope is the largest and most powerful space telescope ever built and will spend its lifespan orbiting earth from around one million miles away. The telescope was designed primarily to study an area of space over 13.5 billion years old (the time period right after “the Big Bang”); however, it will also be used to study bodies in our own local solar system and bodies orbiting other “nearby” stars…”

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