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Canada warns it will prosecute astronauts for crimes in space and on the Moon – ABC News

Canada warns it will prosecute astronauts for crimes in space and on the Moon
Canadian politicians have passed an amendment to the nation's Criminal Code to allow for the prosecution of crimes committed on the Moon.
The change to the law — which MPs voted 181 to 144 in favour — was described in a 443-page budget implementation bill presented to parliament this week.
Ottawa has already extended its jurisdiction over criminal acts committed by Canadian astronauts during space travel to the International Space Station.
They are treated the same as crimes committed in Canada.
The update comes as the number of space flights is increasing, and ahead of the first crewed mission to the Moon in more than 50 years set to launch in May 2024, with a Canadian astronaut expected to be onboard the Artemis II lunar flyby.
Under the subheading Lunar Gateway, the Criminal Code amendment reads:
"A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada that if committed in Canada would constitute an indictable offence is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada."
This would include crimes en route to or on the Lunar Gateway station currently in the works to orbit the Moon, and also "on the surface of the Moon", the document states.
Foreign astronauts who "threaten the life or security of a Canadian crew member" on a Canadian-supported space mission could also be prosecuted, according to the ways and means motion.
The issue of potential crimes committed in space came up in 2019 when NASA investigated what was being characterised as the first alleged space crime.
NASA is reportedly investigating a claim that an astronaut accessed the bank account of her estranged spouse from the International Space Station, in what could be the first allegation of a crime committed in space.
Astronaut Anne McClain was accused by her estranged spouse of improperly accessing bank records while on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Lieutenant Colonel McClain was later cleared and her former partner charged with making false statements to federal authorities.
The Canadian Space Agency is participating in the NASA-led Lunar Gateway project, along with the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.
Starting as early as 2026, the outpost will act as a staging point for robotic and crewed exploration of the lunar surface, as well as travel to Mars.
AFP
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