Space should not be used for military purposes
Space is the obvious next step for militaries all over the world. Many of the ‘civilian’ rocket launches into space have really been part of military programs for creating ICBMs or anti satellite weapons. Many satellites in space are used by the military. However with the exception of Reagan’s proposed ‘star wars’ so far all powers been reluctant to put weapons in space. There has been a UN General Assembly resolution saying that space should only be used for peaceful purposes. However the potential advantages for militaries is likely to mean this is ignored.
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evolving towards peace
There are countries,authorities and people who claim peace is the answer and then go ahead and make war. The most prominent current example would be the the U.K.
Just as we are being told that colonisation/colonization is a thing of the past measures are being taken under the hood to strike as at our most vulnerable. There are two U.S military space planes orbiting the Earth. One wonders why?
counter: Satellites have already been used by the U.S to spy on people all over the world violating the national sovereignty of other nations. What reason is there for us to not see these planes as another us military tool against humans rather than aliens who haven't yet been discovered?
The planes may be a threat to what Mr.Hawking states are eminent threats to our planet.
The planes have not been used against any country yet and conjuring that use in the future is presumptuous.
There is one major reason against the militarisation of space and that is it will end up in a form of mutually assured destruction. Donald J Kessler identified two major problems with regard to existing debris. Firstly there is the problem of the Kessler Syndrome which is commonly used to refer to a situation that where a small object collides with a larger object in space it creates a large amount of small debris that could potentially . Whether the Kessler Syndrome term is used correctly but the point is still the same if military weapons or killer satellites are used to destroy other satellites or even space station then we could have serious problems in getting up into space at the very best.
The initial militarisation of space would make absolutely no difference to this. Yes it will increase the number of objects orbiting the earth but the increase will be much less than the increase for commerical reasons. This may well become a problem if we begin shooting down satelites, however no matter whether space is weaponised or not satelites are likely to be shot down in any major conflict because they have such a major role in intelegence and in modern communications.
[[Howard D Belote, The Weaponization of Space, Aerospace Power Journal, Spring 2000, http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj00/spr00/belote.htm%5D%5D What can space be used for, survailence and communication? are both dual role and not weponisation. Satelites shooting down other satelites? why do that when you can do it will missiles from the ground. Orbital bombardment? Our current nucelar weapons are as effective as space weapons would be and much smaller scale attacks can be done as well by drones and airpower. This leaves the only thing that weaponisation is useful for being balistic missile defence.
There is little point in weaponising space with our current levels of technology.
They would however help solve the problem of nuclear fallout.
Space is already used for military purposes
What do you think hundreds of military reconnaissance/observation satellites are doing up in space? What they're doing is fulfilling a military function of getting intelligence on different military's for those member states so space is already being used for military purposes. Having weapons up there is merely a natural extension of the use of space by the military.
Sure but those observation satellites are actually performing a function which is useful to world peace. By being able to observe movements or potential rocket or missile launches uncertainty of other states intentions is reduced. Also having intelligence on other countries can avoid the risk of arms races because of more accurate
The weaponisation of space would be bad because it could create more uncertainty of other states intentions and would move the military's role in space from being a benign one to being a hostile one.
If not us someone else will.
The way that countries keep trying to get nuclear weapons even when a party to the NPT or when there are agreements in place that states should not do so shows that space is bound to be weponised. It is only a matter of time. Essentially in warfare taking the high ground has always been important, and space is the ultimate high ground at the moment.
Even if all the current major states were to agree that they would not persue the weaponisation of space that would not stop it happening. Smaller nations would see it as an opportunity to get ahead of the estabilshed powers and potentially gain some leverage over them. Is the US less likely to attack a country if it knows it can knock out all its satelites? probably as the dammage would be immense, even if almost no lives would be lost in the process. Our modern world is so dependent on satellite communications it is pretty inconcievable that no one would ever wish to use it against someone else. At the same time it is very difficult to have an agreement that will have global reach and would have the relevent inspections to prevent such weaponisation.
In many ways weaponisation of space could be a good thing. If war happens in space and not on the ground how can it be bad? What we really want is to be reducing the amount of casualties in a war and space can play a big role in this. It is going to be a very long time before we can put large numbers of people in to space so the war would mostly be fought by unmanned drones, satellites and missiles rather than boots on the ground. Such a war could result in a lot of damage to economies, hence how it would come to a winner, but it would not involve much loss of life. I am sure most people would prefer losing their ability to trade on the stock market and hence some money during a war rather than having their sons and daughters sent off to die.
What do you think?