On March 9, 2021, Russia and China signed a landmark agreement to build an international autonomous lunar base on the moon. The announcement has challenged the decades-long status quo of US-led international cooperation in space, and largely reflects the growing competition between the United States and China on earth. But as commercial interests in space become more democratized, the announcement by Russia and China will also have a profound impact on private enterprises like Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Which leads us to ask: Who owns the deed to space?

On this episode of Fast Thinking, Atlantic Council experts Divya Chander and David Bray explore what this announcement will mean for geopolitics and the commercialization of space—touching on space mining, the Artemis Accords, the Outer Space Treaty, and what we can learn from native cultures about the rights of our planet and others.

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