When humans start thinking about settling on Mars, how we will administer the situation?
The Outer Space Treaty specifically prohibits signing nations from making any "sovereign claims" to other bodies in the solar system such as the moon and Mars. The treaty, however, does allow for exploration for the "province of all mankind"; some authors have suggested implementing shared zones on Mars where several countries could work to take the resources they need from the Red Planet.
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A new paper in Space Policy (also available on Arxiv) looks into this situation in more detail. These planetary parks would be established before humans set foot on the Red Planet, and entities exploring Mars would claim a bit of land that they could "reasonably use", the authors say. Any disputes would be reported to an administrative "Mars Secretariat" whose goal is to serve all of the colonies' interests.
"It's based on the Antarctic treaty system, which has a shared use of space for solely science purposes," lead author Sara Bruhns told DNews. Along with her supervisor Jacob Haqq-Misra, a research scientist with the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, the two also pulled examples such as the ocean "exclusive economic zones" around all countries bounded by oceans. The country has special rights to use those resources within a limit of 200 nautical miles from the coast.