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Do we really want a nationalist future in space?



<a href = "https://3c1703fe8d.site.internapcdn.net/newman/gfx/news/hires/2019/dowereallywa.jpg" title = "A composite image of a satellite firing an energy fund at a Goals on Earth Credit: Marc Ward / Shutterstock.com ">
 Do we really want a nationalist future in space?
A composite image of a satellite firing an energy fund on a target on Earth. Credit: Marc Ward / Shutterstock.com

The annals of Scientific Fiction are full of the visions of the future. Some are techno-utopian as "Star Trek", where humanity has joined together in peace to explore the cosmos. Others are dystopian, like the world state in "Brave New World." But many of these stories share one thing in common ̵

1; they imagine a time when humanity has moved past narrow ideas of tribe and nationalism. This assumption may be wrong.


This can be seen in Trump's calls to a united US Space Command. Or in China's expansive overview of sovereignty and more and more active space program, as seen in the latest moon landing. These examples suggest that the concept of outer space as a definitive boundary free from national funding is questionable. Active discussion is ongoing in connection with this letter on the coherence of the 2015 space law with international space law, which allowed private companies to own natural resources mined from asteroids. Some congressional phonics would like to go further with a bill, the American Space Commerce Free Enterprise Act. This says: "Regardless of any other law provision, outer space must not be considered a global commons." This tendency, especially among space powers, is important, as it will not only create precedents that could recur for decades to come, but also because it prevents our ability to solve common challenges – such as removing the dirt orbiting the planet.

End of the Golden Age

In 1959, Da-Sen. Lyndon Johnson said, "Men who have worked together to reach the stars are unlikely to fall in depth at war and desolation." In this spirit, the United States and the former Soviet Union worked together between 1962 and 1979, and through the Committee for Peaceful Utilization of the outer space, to conclude five important international treaties and numerous bilateral and multilateral agreements on outer space.

These agreements covered everything from the return of red astronauts and responsibility for damage from space genes to peaceful use of outer space. However, they did not refer to space weapons outside the weapons of mass destruction or introduced mechanisms to control an increasingly crowded final border.

Progress stopped, as it was time to determine the moon's legal status. The Reagan administration protested against the Moon Treaty, which stated that the moon was the common heritage of humanity as the deep seabed, partly because of lobbying by groups as opposed to the Treaty provisions. Because no organized action arose in support of the treaty, it died in the US Senate and with that is the space law's validity. Today, almost 30 years after the first was proposed, only 18 nations have ratified the agreement.

Raising Collective Action Problems

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, space regulation has only become more complicated due to an increasing number of room powers, both public and private. National and commercial interests are increasingly tied to space in political, economic and military arenas. In addition to imaginative notions of solar satellites, fusion energy and groundbreaking hotels, contemporary political issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, cyber security and human rights are also closely linked to outer space.

The list of leading room allowances has expanded beyond the US and Russia to include China, India, Japan and members of the European Space Agency – especially France, Germany and Italy. Each rule regularly spends over $ 1 billion. USD on their space programs, with estimates that China's space costs exceed $ 8 billion. Dollars in 2017, although the United States continues to spend more than all other nations combined with space-related efforts. But space has become important to all nations who rely on everything from weather forecasts to satellite telecommunications. In 2015, the global space industry was more than $ 320 billion, a figure expected to grow to $ 1.1 trillion in 2040.

<a rel = "lightbox" href = "https: //3c1703fe8d.site.internetcdcdn Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov shake hands in space on July 17, 1975 to facilitate the war war tensions. NASA / Wikimedia Commons ">
 Do we really want a nationalist future in space?
Astronaut Thomas P. Stafford and cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov shake hands in space on July 17, 1975 to facilitate the war war tensions. Credit: NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Private companies, such as SpaceX, are working to dramatically lower the cost of launching payloads in low-Earth circuits that have been around for a long time. $ 10,000 pr. Pound. Such innovation implies the promise to open up space for new development. It also raises concerns about the sustainability of space operations.

At the same time, the Trump administration's public desire to launch a Space Force has shown concerns over a new weapon race, which, if created, can worsen both space and weapon space conditions. The two problems are related, as the use of weapons in space can increase the amount of dirt through fragments from destroyed satellites. For example, China performed a successful anti-satellite in 2007, destroying an aging weather satellite at an altitude of about 500 miles. This single event contributed more than 35,000 pieces of orbital remnants that increased the amount of space disturbances by approx. 25 percent.

Without concerted efforts, Marshall Kaplan, an orbital waste management specialist at Johns Hopkins University's Space Department, argues, "There is a good chance that we may eventually have to abandon all active satellites in contemporary circles" due to growing space junk problems .

Avoiding a Tragedy in Space Commons

The tragedy in the Commons scenario refers to "unlimited consumption of a common resource-a pasture, a highway, a server-city individual acting in the rational pursuit of their self-interest," according to Commons Governance Expert Brett Frischmann. This can and often leads to the destruction of the resource. Given that space is largely an open access system, the predictions of the commons tragedies are obvious. Space researcher Robert Bird has argued that nations treat orbital space as a kind of common grazing that can be over-exploited and polluted through debris. It is a scenario captured in the movie "Wall-E".

But fortunately there is a way out of this scenario beyond either nationalization or privatization. Scientists led by the political economist and Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom changed the tragedy of commons by showing that groups can, in some cases, self-organize and collaborate to avoid tragic over-exploitation.

I study this literature on "polycentric" governance – complex management systems consisting of several scales, sectors and stakeholders – in my forthcoming book, "New Age of Information Age: Against Cyber ​​Peace". We already see some evidence of the benefits of such a polycentric approach in an increasingly multipolar era, where there are more and more power centers that come around the world. An example is a code of conduct for space nations. This code contains the need to reduce orbital waste. Further progress can be made by building on the success of the international coalition that built the international space station, for example. By deepening partnerships with companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.

This is not a "keep that simple, stupid" answer to the challenges of space regulation. But it recognizes the reality of continued national control over space operations in the foreseeable future, and there is actually some benefit to such results, including accountability. But we should think long and hard before moving away from a proven model like the international space station and towards a future for declining national research stations and even military outposts in space.

Coordination between sovereign nations is possible as it was shown in the golden age of the space law. By finding common ground, including the importance of sustainable development, we can make grounding that humanity's evolution of space is less a race than a peaceful march – not a flag and footprint mission of a nation, but a destination that serves the development of science, the economy and the improvement of international relations.


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