An astronaut who spent six months aboard the ISS was accused of having impersonated his ex-wife in order to consult their joint bank account from space. It could be the very first offense committed in space.
An offense committed aboard the ISS?
According to a New York Times article published on August 24, 2019, American astronaut, Anne McClain is at the heart of an astonishing court case. The latter flew a mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) from December 2018 to June 2019. However, her former wife Summer Worden attacked her by filing two complaints, one from NASA and the other from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The applicant complains to Anne McClain to have consulted their old common account from space and to have usurped his identity to achieve his ends. The lawyer of the defendant felt that it had done nothing wrong. Anne McClain was already doing this kind of audit when the two women were still together. NASA investigators have contacted both parties and are examining the charge. As for the FTC, the latter has not yet answered about identity theft.
Space and justice
The McClain-Worden case is therefore related to the potential first offense committed in space. However, the space domain is sometimes concerned with justice. For example, the five agencies aboard the ISS have put in place legal procedures to settle disputes over the Station. There is also a case dating from 2017, which concerns an Austrian businessman who sued a space tourism company. The complainant claimed reimbursement of his deposit for a trip that had not been organized.
Space tourism could create a new business of this kind, just like space exploration. In 2018, we talked about how the crimes could be solved in the event of colonization of the planet Mars. Regarding laws, it may well be that each settler is subject to the laws of his home country on Earth. In addition, investigations into blood crimes could be more difficult because of the very different weather conditions on the red planet.