Most likely, this is the best-known picture of a flag ever taken: Buzz Aldrin standing next to the first U.S. flag planted on the Moon. For those who knew their world history, it also rang some alarm bells. Only less than a century ago, back on Earth, planting a national flag in another part of the world still amounted to claiming that territory for the fatherland. Did the Stars and Stripes on the moon signify the establishment of an American colony?
Space exploration is governed by a complex series of international treaties and agreements which have been in place for years. The first and probably most important of them celebrates its 50th anniversary on January 27 – The Outer Space Treaty. This treaty, which was signed in 1967, was agreed through the United Nations, and today it remain as the “constitution” of outer space. It has been signed and made official, or ratified, by 105 countries across the world.