Notes and Case Comments


Deep Space Thinking: What Elon Musk’s Idea to Nuke Mars Teaches Us About Regulating the “Visionaries and Daredevils” of Outer Space

By: Thomas J. Herron Elon Musk, founder of California-based aerospace company SpaceX, was recently called a “supervillain” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert after revealing his idea to detonate thermonuclear devices over the poles of Mars. Musk does not have sinister intentions; he wants to terraform the Martian atmosphere so that future generations of humans can live there.3 Musk has long been an advocate of colonizing Mars, arguing that a multi-planetary presence can safeguard the survival of humanity in the future, especially if a catastrophic event ever occurs on Earth. Musk believes that Mars has great potential to support human life in the future, and his plan to create a habitable Martian atmosphere is intriguing. Special nuclear devices would be detonated in space over the planet’s polar ice caps, “creating two tiny pulsing ‘[S]uns’ over the regions.” In theory, generating large amounts of heat over the Martian poles could vaporize […]


Public Interest Standing and Judicial Review of Environmental Matters: A Comparative Approach

By:  Jeffrey T. Hammons   Judicial review is vital to clarifying and enforcing environmental laws in the United States. The public can use judicial review to protect the environment and hold the government accountable for environmental harms. Redressing environmental harm is often led by non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”) specializing in environmental issues. However, the modern standing doctrine can be a barrier to redressing environmental harms because it is not flexible enough to address the unique factual situations that arise in environmental litigation. One situation that current standing doctrine struggles to address is when government action affects the public generally, but no individual person is harmed in a specific manner. That scenario can occur, for example, when the government fails to address a pollutant known to be harmful due to its climate change implications, as addressed in Massachusetts v. EPA. Another frequent situation is when government action affects a particular environment, but […]