Saturday, June 04, 2005

Space Wars

From the Houston Chronicle comes this (via a Free Republic link)report by the American Academy of Arts ans Sciences:

Experts warn U.S. of space isolation
America could alienate nations by pushing military and planetary exploration plans
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

The United States is in jeopardy of isolating itself from allies and adversaries alike if it forges ahead with reported plans to militarize space and pursue a go-it-alone, deep-space exploration policy, a team of experts warned Friday.

"This is a pivotal moment for U.S. space policy," said Martin Malin, who directs a project for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences called Reconsidering the Rules of Space.

Mr. Carreau describes the discussions during recent teleconference sponsored by the Academy. He states that participating experts are categorizing the current administration's plans for returning to the moon, further exploration of Mars, and deep space destinations as 'too costly', and one "[ ]questioned the willingness of the American public to shoulder the expense of space exploration alone". Also, "[ ]another participant in the academy's assessment, warned that the United States could find its future in space in jeopardy without a deeper public debate about the program's direction". The use of terms like " Global suspicion " and " The nation's isolationist policy " in relation to the United States failing to consult with partners in the International Space Station project seems to me to be an indication of where this study is headed. Go read the whole thing, then look at the project statement itself. Excerpt:
The project has facilitated discussions between international security experts and leading stakeholders in both commercial development and scientific advancement in space. The project is also producing a series of papers, intended to help inform public discussion and to induce a further examination of US official policies. These papers will consider the implications of physics for space security; the interaction of military, scientific, and commercial activities in space; Chinese and Russian perspectives on US space plans; and the possible elements of a more comprehensive space security system.

Also note:
The Reconsidering the Rules of Space project is supported by a generous grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
I have mixed feeling about military in space. On the one hand, from my sci-fi reading background, the idea of a 'Space Navy' brings back fond pseudo-memories, and I think that would be a good and necessary thing. On the other hand, carrying our present conflicts into space would probably not be so good. On the gripping hand, if conflicts are to be carried into space, then the United States should be pre-eminent!

Update: (06/05/05 12:10AM CDT) For those interested, here's a year old article on The U.S. Air Force and plans for a future space war. The Transformation Flight Plan document mentioned is available here in PDF format.

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