Right now, everything off Earth falls under the same jurisdiction as international waters. No single entity can claim land, take resources, or otherwise take actions that would indicate some part of space or extra-terrestrial object belongs to them in specific. But sooner or later, spaceflight is going to be commercialized, and the first stop outside the crater-marked grayscale of Earth’s lovely lunar companion will be… Mars. SpaceX is the name on everyone’s lips when it comes to spaceflight in travel, especially with Elon Musk focusing much of his attention on colonization efforts for the red planet. Elon Musk has already claimed that international law will not apply to any Martian settlement, which immediately raises the question of what laws would apply.
SpaceX is the obvious leader in spaceflight at the moment, and so would be the first to land a proper hub of civilization on Mars. Elon Musk has shown himself to be both an enthusiastic consumer of science fiction media and critical of large government regimes, and he could be aiming to supply the new Martian landscape with a solution to the latter with a basis in the former.
Preventing Air & Soil Pollution
With the intent of fixing the mistakes on Earth, the very first laws of the Red Planet could well be those for preventing air and soil pollution. This would have a much different effect on our neighbor planet, given the lack of atmosphere or natural resources to preserve. Ecological efforts on the Red Planet might take the shape of large greenhouses of Earth-transplanted greenery, or large smokestacks belching CO2 and O2 into the air to better change the air for human life.
It must not be forgotten that SpaceX is a corporation involved in profit above all else, like any other corporation, and one could very easily expect the Red Planet to become a corporatocracy with its initial settling. Little to no taxation, all residents of Mars being some kind of employee of the ruling corporation for the district, and severe focus on efficiency is to be expected of a corporatocracy.
Science fiction media has made the word corporatocracy a dirty word, with images of dystopian futures seen across television, literature, video games, and so on. However, a corporatocracy can work just as well as any other type of governing body, with the proper oversight.
The Martian landscape may become a haven for spaceflight-capable corporations, which would cause large societal shifts on Earth. With the abundance of free space and far looser laws, more and more corporations would move onto red soil, and establish the Red Planet as a trading neighbor for Earth. It calls back to other tropes of science fiction media, those of the specialized planets for various forms of living.
Martian laws dictated by spaceflight corporations could pave the way for a planet based around industry and commercialism, leaving the residential aspects of human life to Earth alone. Such an arrangement would be especially beneficial to Musk and his company itself as if spaceflight becomes so routine as to travel between Earth and its red neighbor for work purposes… they’re the ones with the ships.