Sever ties with earth, or don't sever ties with earth?
Do you think a space colony should sever ties with earth, or keep in touch? What would the legal ramifications be?
Should you still be a citizen of the country on earth where you have citizenship, or should you be called a citizen of Mars (or something similar)?
Do you feel the governments should have control over the colonies, or not? What do you think would the advantages and disadvantages be? Maybe a financial advantage to still be under an earth government?
How about the law? Should space colonists fall under the law of their country, or have their own laws? If they had their own laws, who would enforce them?
Should there be additional laws in a space colony? If yes, which ones? I do think that at the very least strict rules would be necessary. Without them, things could turn into chaos in a hurry.
Of course the next question is then.. what to do if someone breaks the law? A space colony would be a bit too small to have a prison 🙂
Sorry, a lot of questions but I like to hear people's thoughts on this 🙂 It is one of those things that would have to be made very, very clear before starting space colonies, imo.
What I think is that space colonists will be the most aware of their own needs, desires and goals for the colony. Therefore, they should be the ones who make decisions that impact their own colony with no fear of backlash from Earth governments when they have to make decisions that Earth governments wouldn't approve of. This may not mean completely breaking ties with Earth at first, but will mean that those who join a space colony will automatically have to be used to the idea of making on-the-spot decisions. This will partly be due to time delays in communications. From a practical standpoint, colonists may not have time to radio information back to Earth and wait for a reply before they start solving a sudden crisis.
As far as laws in space are concerned, each colony should have at least some say because, again, each colony will be most familiar with its own situation. Some problems can be prevented from the start by choosing colonists that are mature adults, self-motivated, capable of being team players, have stable personalities, etc., etc. The important thing to remember here is that some crimes that are considered minor here, like stealing food or vandalizing someone's house, could actually have serious ramifications in a space colony. Stealing food could mean that somebody else in the colony starves; vandalizing a habitat could mean that the habitat loses its atmosphere and somebody dies. So the penalties should be adjusted to suit and could range from extra work to an automatic death penalty, depending on the situation. (For the record, I am not a fan of the death penalty, but we're dealing with the harsh environment of a space colony. Anything that threatens the survival of the colony or leads to the death of colonists should be dealt with as firmly as possible.)
What I think is that space colonists will be the most aware of their own needs, desires and goals for the colony.
That's what I'm thinking too. Each colony might have different goals and aspirations, and work in different ways. For that reason, they could need different or additional rules.
All in all, I think it might be wise to keep some ties with earth but I'm not just thinking about government, law and legal issues here. What if someone gets really ill and needs surgery. What if a certain species dies and needs to be replaced. What if a plant disease occurs and kills half of the plants. What if, for some reason, the colony runs out of oxygen. What if there is a collision and half the colony gets destroyed. What if someone gets super home sick and really wants to go back to earth! It takes a special person to leave everything behind on earth and leave, knowing you will never come back. It's not for everyone, and not all colonists might realise that.
Keeping ties with earth would be a bit of an insurance policy, something to fall back on in case of an emergency, as I am sure some emergencies will occur during space colonization. One can only prepare so much. The real deal could be very different and require to fall back on your ties with earth.
The important thing to remember here is that some crimes that are considered minor here, like stealing food or vandalizing someone's house, could actually have serious ramifications in a space colony.
Very true, and there are probably others too. Things like not sharing knowledge. Say, if a space colonist knows how to grow certain plants in a quick manner in order to produce food quicker, and tries to get the monopoly by not sharing that knowledge, that could be considered a serious crime.
Another one would be not sharing what you have and holding things back. You would think that in a space colony, people would be required to share certain things.
The question remains.. what to do with people doing something against the law, but I'm sure that someone will come up with something. It wouldn't surprise me if they went back to the real old punishment methods like public humiliation or whatnot.
All in all, I don't imagine there would be much crime, because space colonists would be selected carefully, and they would all have the same passion: Making a colony that works and that can sustain them in the long run. If all work towards the same goal, it'll be all good, or mostly good.