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In space, no one can hear you scream "Objection!"

Posted by: Laurence Simons 28/08/12

Congratulations to all who were involved in putting a thing with wheels and a camera on it up on Mars.  But who rules the law up in space? Space lawyers.

According to Fast Company magazine, space lawyers are a niche cluster operating in the aviation sector, and one that's being slowly boosted by people, well, going into space. And it's a cluster that's set to become very, very lucrative, as soon as the Virgin Galactic service starts operating.

"Space tourists are usually high-income earners," underestimates space lawyer Doug Griffith, who moved from piloting Marine helicopters to working within the commercial space industry. "Insurability for private space travel flights is a big issue at this time."

But it's not just about anticipating humans being murdered by robots and aliens. Space law is also about who puts what flag where: satellite treaties are space lawyers' partially hydrated bread and butter, while a joint asteroid mining venture between Google founders Larry Page and Eric Schmidt and director James Cameron is currently in the midst of the mother of legal grey areas. Space lawyers, thankfully, are on hand to untangle all that gravity-less red tape.

Want to get involved in the soon-to-be-thriving industry? University of Mississippi's Law School offers a program in space law, while University of Nebraska-Lincoln also offers options.