Brother Guy Consolmagno, an astronomer in charge of Vatican’s observatory, has recently stated that since several nations are looking forward to exploring outer space for various reasons like mineral harvesting, strategic military points and colonization a set of global protocols should be imposed, rendering space as the next legal frontier.
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Outer Space Treaty, a legal document that was signed in 1967 by the United Nations. The treaty aimed to regulate activities in outer space and other celestial bodies.
Back then only the United States and the Soviet reunion were the only nations that were involved in the race. In our days more than 20 nations have already launched or possessed the capability to launch satellites and other instruments into space while more than 90 nations have an active space program.
The most popular activity is the development and launch of micro-satellites, as they have become quite affordable in recent years and have a variety of practical uses. This also means that satellites from several nations are now orbiting Earth.
As companies are working on commercial applications, the need to create a unified protocol grows. The aim would be to prevent any potential conflict or accident that could lead to the unnecessary international incident. The main issue here is to convince everyone, from small nations to giant multinationals, that the protocol will be beneficial in the long run and that everybody needs to abide by the rules.
SpaceX and Boeing are already working on commercial space flight vehicles, China wants to harvest minerals from asteroids and some are pushing for the establishment of a base on the moon. These are just some of the current projects, with more to come in the future.
Earlier in June U.S. President Donald Trump has announced a plan to create a ‘’Space Force’’ as a new branch of the American military. The initiative should boost American presence in space while creating jobs and helping the economy at the same time.
It remains to be seen if the initiative will be successful as the space industry continues to grow.