A rollout is now underway for SpaceX’s “Better than Nothing Beta” for Starlink. And it seems that Starlink’s Terms of Service and Installation Instructions contain some unforgettable (and somewhat sensible) Easter Eggs in the true Elon Musk theme. Needless to mention, it has charmed the space community.
Among the most prominent of these Easter Eggs were the Installation Instructions of the Starlink system. As noted by CNBC space reporter Michael Sheetz, the official installation instructions of SpaceX have confirmed that the private space company is fondly naming “Dishy McFlatface” its Starlink consumer terminals, a reference to “Boaty McBoatface,” which grabbed headlines back in 2016.
The “Boaty McBoatface” meme was developed in 2016 when an online crowdsourced contest was initiated by the British science research agency NERC to decide the name of its new polar research vessel. There were various name suggestions for the ship, which was one of the most advanced in Britain, the most common of which was the humorous “Boaty McBoatface,” a pseudonym suggested by former BBC presenter James Hand. While the ship was finally called the RSS David Attenborough, an onboard drone was nevertheless later christened “Boaty McBoatface.” Since then, the name has been used on the internet.
Starlink’s Terms of Service also contained several very unusual sections of references to Boaty aside, the most interesting of which was written under “Governing Law.” In it, Musk’s private space company clarified that Starlink users have to understand that Mars is a free world and not controlled by any government authority based on Earth. Although meme-worthy on its own, the mention of Mars’ autonomy by SpaceX highlights the company’s intense focus in the coming years on reaching the red planet.
“For Services provided to, on, or in orbit around the planet Earth or the Moon, these Terms and any disputes between us arising out of or related to these Terms, including disputes regarding arbitrability (“Disputes”) will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of California in the United States. For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a free planet and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement,” SpaceX noted.
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