By Jasmeen Ewaida

Elon Musk’s SpaceX company has recently created a buzz in the media as the quest for space exploration and colonisation is a rather contested and alien concept, as is the idea of the establishment of a human settlement on Mars. The implementation of such a concept brings up many questions but if realised, proposes a new domain for which occupation and ownership become disputed. As of now, the use of weapons in space is prohibited by the Outer Space Treaty, which was signed by the United States and other major spacefaring nations in 1967. Additionally, the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS) is a critical issue on the UN disarmament and arms control agenda having been included in five separate draft resolutions relating to disarmament and space during the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Yet it is unknown how the topic of outer space weaponisation may progress if civilisation is able to accomplish permanent outer-space settlement. Would this induce conflicts and even wars in space?

An important distinction must be made between militarisation and weaponisation. While the first refers to the use of space in support of ground, sea and air-based military operations, the latter describes the placement in orbit of space-based devices that have a destructive capacity.

Some argue that the development of space-based weapons is necessary for national security and defence, especially as countries become more reliant on space-based technology for communication, navigation, and surveillance. However, others argue that the use of weapons in space could lead to a dangerous escalation of tensions between nations and could ultimately lead to the militarization of space.

Historically, the militarization and weaponization of outer space can be traced back to the Cold War era. During this period, the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a space race, with both countries seeking to demonstrate their technological superiority and military capabilities. What is to say a similar trajectory will not occur now, and with even more technologically advanced weaponry, intelligence, and artillery it would only be more catastrophic.

More recently, there have been concerns about the development of anti-satellite weapons by countries like China and Russia. These weapons are designed to target and destroy satellites, which could potentially disrupt communication, navigation, and other vital space-based systems.

In summary, the militarization and weaponization of outer space and Mars are controversial topics that raise important ethical, legal, and security concerns. It is important for governments and space organizations to continue to monitor and regulate the use of space-based weapons to prevent any potential conflicts or dangers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s