Mining the Moon and Mars?
How to manage space debris?
What is a just and sustainable use of space resources?
How will space activities impact life on Earth?
How will space development impact low-carbon energy transitions?
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Important Dates

July 1st, 2023

Registration begins

July 1st, 2023
September 14, 2023

Deadline Abstract Submission

September 14, 2023
September 28, 2023

Acceptance / Rejection Notification

September 28, 2023
November 3, 2023

Deadline submission Pre-recorded videos

November 3, 2023
November 8, 2023

Pre-recorded videos become available to registrants

November 8, 2023

You can add all important dates, including the conference dates to your calendar with this button.

Commons in Space 2023 Virtual Conference

Aim & Scope

We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, round table discussions, and other creative contributions. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners on the commons in space. The increasing dependence of our societies on space infrastructures (GPS, remote sensing, internet access, etc.) and the potential mining of rare minerals for energy transitions are causing new sustainability challenges due to the lack of governance of human activities in outer space.

We will cover topics from space debris and congesting orbital space due to increasing satellites, mining of celestial bodies, protection of dark night sky, utilization of different space resources in our solar system, and earth-space sustainability challenges. The increasing number of private and state actors involved in space exploration and the utilization of Earth’s orbit without a clear governance framework points to an urgent need to debate governance solutions.

With rapid technological innovation and space commercialization, how can existing studies on the governance of global commons consider the steering power of non-state actors, industries and sectors? As a virtual conference organized by the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), we will facilitate a discussion between space scholars and scholars studying more traditional commons. What are the challenges ahead as humanity has to increasingly ensure earth-space sustainability? Importantly, how can commons scholarship provide models for diverse stakeholder groups to have agency and voice as humanity rapidly expands their activities on the Moon, Mars, and beyond?




1. Resource Governance

How to regulate the use of various types of resources on the Moon, Mars, and other celestial bodies?

2. Governing Earth Orbit Commons

Governance of Earth’s orbital environment for the use of satellites, spacecraft, and telecommunications.

3. Benefit Sharing

How do we facilitate fair and equitable participation in the use of space and distribution of the benefits generated from space activities?

4. Cultural and Environmental Dimensions

How to manage the cultural and scientific heritage of space exploration, as well as protect our dark skies in the interests of astronomy, indigenous communities, wildlife, and tourism?

5. Earth-Space Sustainability

How do we govern sustainability challenges on Earth and in space simultaneously, such as the increasing use of Earth’s orbit for environmental monitoring, competition over rare minerals in space for energy transitions on Earth, environmental degradation on Earth due to increasing rocket launches into space, etc.


Abstract Submission

Round Table

The focus of a round table is debate. Panelists may make short statements after which there is a moderated discussion during which questions from the audience are addressed. The duration of the round table is 50 minutes

Special Session with Pre-recorded Talks

A session consists of at least four 10-minutes video presentations and has their designated space on the conference website. During the live events, the special session has a moderated round table with presenters.

Individual Pre-recorded Talk

A 10-minute presentation is pre-recorded and available for conference participants the asynchronously interact with the presenters in the comment section. Presenters are also invited to a live round table with other presenters of similar topics.

Other Creative Contribution

Short films, artistic work related to the conference, interviews, or other online activities.

Meet the


Xiao-Shan Yap

Conference Chair
Lead Senior Researcher, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland; Guest Assistant Professor, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Marco Janssen

Professor, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA

Florian Rabitz

Chief Researcher, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania

Akhil Rao

Assistant Professor of Economics, Middlebury College, USA

Meet our

Advisory Board

Timiebi Aganaba

Assistant Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and Space Advisory Project Lead at Arizona State University, USA

Denise Garcia

Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at Northeastern University, USA

Alice Gorman

Associate Professor in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at the Flinders University of South Australia

Daniel Lambach

Research Fellow, Goethe Universität Frankfurt; Associate Fellow, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, Germany

Jessy Kate Schingler

Director of Policy and Governance at the Open Lunar Foundation, USA

Andrew Williams

External Relations, Executive Office of the Director General, European Southern Observatory (ESO)



This virtual conference is accessible for small fees to cover the costs of the implementation of the meetings. All presenters will have to be or become IASC members. IASC members pay 10 dollars to attend the virtual conference live. All conference material will be available to IASC members after the conference. If you are not an IASC member, you can easily register here. Non-IASC members can attend the conference for a fee of 50 dollars. Dependent on sponsoring, waivers are available for early-career scholars and practitioners from the global south.

IASC Members




Don't hessitate to

Contact Us

For questions about this conference, please send an email to Xiao-Shan Yap (Shan) at

Become a


We are seeking sponsors to cover the costs of organizing the conference and fund IASC memberships for students and colleagues in the global south. We consider the following level of Sponsorships:

Platinum Sponsor: $5,000

Gold Sponsor: $2,000

Silver Sponsor: $1,000

Bronze sponsor: $120, which covers a membership for one participant for four years.

Platinum, Gold, and Silver sponsors will have their logo on the conference website, the size depending on the level of Sponsorship. If you have inquiries about sponsorships, please contact

We welcome donations of any amount!