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US Finally Backs International Space "Code of Conduct"

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the space-rules dept.

Government 116

coondoggie writes "Perhaps it was the concern that the nearly 14 ton Russian Mars probe would land smack-dab on the White House or maybe they just came to their senses, but the U.S. State Department today said it would indeed work with the European Union and other countries to develop a formal space code of conduct. Of particular concern is the growing amount of space trash and how the world can go about eliminating or controlling the problem. There is also the desire to keep space free of military weaponry."

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First Post from space (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746560)

I'm in space!

Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (5, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746564)

"There is also the desire to keep space free of military weaponry"

BOUAHAHAHA

Sorry, had to catch my breath from laughing

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746590)

Better question: Why do you even attempt to believe it?
You know it's coming from a propaganda source. One of the most untrustworthy source chains on the planet.

It's a waste of time. I made a game today. What could you have done for yourself today? :)

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746856)

Better question: Why do you even attempt to believe it?
You know it's coming from a propaganda source. One of the most untrustworthy source chains on the planet.

It's a waste of time. I made a game today. What could you have done for yourself today? :)

I got paid $55/hour to sit on my ass and Troll slashdot. I think I'm ahead.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746592)

Yeah, I nearly snorted my coffee through my nose when I read that. Who are they kidding?

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746630)

Well, they only missed out a couple of words. Insert "anybody else's" between "of" and "military".

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746634)

Would anybody else include China?

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746654)

Probably just China and Russia. The rest of the world is either on good terms with the US and will be for the forseeable future, or doesn't have the technological capability just yet for space weaponry. Though I'm sure they'll catch up.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (5, Funny)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746596)

"There is also the desire to keep space free of other nations military weaponry"

BOUAHAHAHA

Sorry, had to catch my breath from laughing

Fixed that for you

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

spacefight (577141) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746608)

I mean we've all seen Golden Eye, but apart from that one, is there some strong indication, that the US have allready deployed permanent weapons in space?

Thanks for any pointers!

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (2, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746642)

If they did, do you think we'd know about it? They put up classified payloads all the time. Like all good conspiracy theories, it may or may not be true... but you can't prove it isn't.

The DoD did express some interest years back in hypervelocity rods. Streamlined rods of titanium or such that could be dropped from orbit with precise aim, for when you want to blow up a target without the political problems of sending aricraft or missiles through neutral airspace.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (4, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746820)

Project Thor [wikipedia.org] , it's hardly rocket science. I mean, it is rocket science, but it's not brain surgery. Unless they hit you in the head.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

necro81 (917438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746990)

...but it's not brain surgery. Unless they hit you in the head.

I think they call that vaporization.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747078)

9.5 tons of tungsten traveling at mach 10 will hurt a lot. If my math is right looks like the air force want to deliver 49.57 gigajoules strikes on targets. I love wolfram alpha.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747448)

I don't think it would hurt at all, actually.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747922)

Why don't they use this tech to eliminate the space trash?

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (4, Interesting)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747122)

Problem is, Thor is hilariously expensive. Doing some basic calculations, each kinetic rod strike (given the figures listed on Wikipedia) has an impact energy of around 10 tons of TNT. For the same cost of launching that amount of tungsten into orbit on the cheapest launcher available, you could buy 10 KT worth of JDAM with GPS guidance packages. Plus, the instant you launch it, everybody knows you have it- that plasma sheath is not exactly subtle, and radars would pick it up. Hard to pass off an object arriving at Mach 10 as "stealth bomber" without admitting that A) Project Thor is a Thing, or B) Aurora never got retired.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747508)

The appeal is in political considerations. No need to worry about getting your bomber or missile through neutral airspace. No need to maintain airfields or missile sites, or keep a ship or submarine on station. You want a place to go boom, it goes boom. Wherever it is. And other than your target, no-one else need care. It'd also be a lot faster than missile or bomber, which is good on targets of opportunity - if intel says you that a terrorist cell leader or enemy general is in a particular building, you can make it Not Be There within minutes and without warning. If you had to send in a bomber, the target will have left by the time you get there.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748920)

Only if you've actually got the ordinance in an orbital location where it could be used, and I would imagine that accuracy when dropping such things from space - unlike sci-fi - isn't exactly great.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

fahlesr1 (1910982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748582)

Not that hard to pass off.

"Its raining rocks? Strange weather we're having!"

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38749668)

"We throw rocks." - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Heinlein

AC 'cuz I'm modding.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38750732)

Plus, the instant you launch it, everybody knows you have it- that plasma sheath is not exactly subtle, and radars would pick it up. Hard to pass off an object arriving at Mach 10 as "stealth bomber" without admitting that A) Project Thor is a Thing, or B) Aurora never got retired.

That would be the entire point. "We can kill you, anywhere, any time, and there's nothing you can do about it." However, to paraphrase Dr Strangelove: what's the point of deterrence weapons if no one knows you have them! I can see this weapon system being worth the cost, but only if it wasn't a secret.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (2)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38749058)

A) It was a concept, not implemented.
B) the AF now talks about it being crow bar sized
3) It's the military's job to think these things up.
$) Just because it's thought up doesn't mean it's implemented.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38749132)

Yes.
There are certain requirements for any weapons system. We don't have anything large enough in space to have any useful weapon.

Like all conspiracy theories, there pretty easy to point out and explain why they aren't real.
Also, people who believe them ignore hard facts.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38750556)

Nothing that we know of. Classified payload, perhaps? Maybe it is disguised as a communications, weather or science sat? It's highly unlikely, but can't be absolutly disproven. That makes it a great conspiracy theory.

It's possible to have a conspiracy theory that survives even if it can be disproven beyond all doubt too, if it has a good enough narative that believers want it desperatly to be true. The moon landing hoax, for example, or anti-vax claims of a global coverup.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38750798)

The point is that the mass of classified payloads is still known (because the lift capacity of the rockets is known, give or take), and you can absolutely disprove that we've secretly launched anything big enough to be useful. Just like the basic laws of physics absolutely disprove vapor trails, and most other conspiracy theories.

The moon landings, OTOH, everyone knows those were shot in a soundstage on Mars.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746652)

Well, there's the X-37. It hasn't been revealed what it's for but it's operated by the US air force who are more famous for their "weapons of mass destruction" than for their "fluffly space kittens".

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746962)

Reality is the might be realising one of the greatest consequences of weaponise earth orbits, forget space.

The more crowded earth orbits become the greater the reality of a impact chain reaction. One major satellite destroyed and it's orbit correcting reaction fuel source detonated and those very high speed debris could go on to take out more satellites and the idiot monkey chain reaction would go on from there.

Humanity is getting in the position where it could deny itself access for centuries to space simply as a result of the extent of orbiting debris and no realistic way of cleaning them up.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (3, Interesting)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747138)

The type of laser you'd put up in orbit to get rid of orbital debris would only be good for taking out objects in orbit. It wouldn't have any utility in attacking ground-based installations, because the beam would scatter.

Now, it *could* be used against space stations and space vehicles, I'll grant that.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#38750890)

We certainly have the ability to keep a (very high power) laser beam from scattering through many miles of atmosphere - check out the ABL program some time. The tech is very cool - a dynamically shaped lens, constantly changing, to compensate for the optical effects of atmospherice turbulance as measured in real time.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38751398)

Which considering how dependent "modern" armies are on things like GPS, weather tracking, etc. it would make sense to want to protect that. Imagine how effective drone warfare would be without satellites? I would think that part of the U.S. objective is to protect these interests through agreements such that it assures it technological superiority. I mean for all the investment, imagine how safe the U.S. would feel if China started deploying anti-satellite stations in space, or even for that matter started weaponizing stations on other planets. Both the U.S. and China have demonstrated in the past several years that they are capable of taking out satellites. Agreements like this are similar to nuclear arms treatise, and designed to discourage rivals from developing these types of weapons to ensure war remains "civilized".

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747738)

...idiot monkey chain reaction

I saw one of these on C-SPAN.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748994)

Nope. We do have a lot of people who won't look at the history of US involvement in space and the constant push to not put weapon into space.

But, hey lets not let facts spoil some of these jackasses delusions.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746650)

What a coincidence.I'd have said virtually the same. But I'm sure they're probably registered in the name of an Old Ladies' Club on Topeka. Or something. The Military probably only operates them. That way, technically, a least, they're not the military's wapons. Hence, not Military Weapons. The Chinese, as everyone knows, do not have Old Ladies' Clubs in Topeka. That's a race they're still behind at. Nevertheless, they could still have the State Commercial Toy Model Company set up a few working 1:1 model toys, up there. The US could transfer theirs to the UTB, for example, among other sane and comforting choices. Just kepp Hollywood out of it, will you. And the gubernator. For obvious reasons.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746696)

Weapons, not wapons. Sorry, that wasn't even Freudian. Downright Jungian, it was. My apologies. Commiserate and abundant.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (2)

AB3A (192265) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746890)

I agree with the sentiments, and I acknowledge that someone will try it. However, others have figured out how easy it is to defeat this Anti-satellite weapons have already been tested and it would be foolish to think that they do not exist in anyone's arsenal. The end result is lots of debris in orbits that may last hundreds of years..

A treaty of this sort would have to acknowledge this problem and put long term concerns over short term tactical needs. The answer is probably the hypersonic scram-jets they're developing right now for the military. These technologies have the potential of being on target perhaps even before an orbital platform can put something there. It has the added advantage that even if shot down, it is unlikely it would leave debris in orbit for long.

Please note that I'm not advocating such weaponry or policies; I'm merely pointing out that this is where the technology is going. I don't think we'll have to be too concerned until we have a significant colony of independent people living in space.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (5, Interesting)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747006)

The best anti-satellite weapon, a non-targeted rocket carrying high explosive and ten of thousands of titanium flechettes. Can't afford a high tech satellite weapons program, simply deny anyone else access to space. Fire off rocket after rocket until earth orbits are flooded with tens of millions flechettes all randomly orbiting until they take out 'all' available targets.

This weapon is readily accessible to the most primitive space program, once deployed it can not currently be removed and is the ultimate leveller, as all countries space programs will be levelled at zero. Only way past it anti-gravity drive and heavily armoured space craft, quite the technology leap. Quite a few countries could already threaten all the worlds access in this manner, space blackmail a veritable earth orbit doomsday weapon.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747600)

Well, the thing is, any country with the ability to get a rocket that high (and there aren't all that many of them) generally has that ability because they are interested in their own space program. Plus, any country that tried that kind of blackmail would suddenly be looking at dozens of other, very powerful, very pissed-off countries which have very large military forces.

Also, it would be a technical nightmare. Most of the flechettes aren't going to end up in stable orbits unless you have a very specific launch system, and space is, well, big, so you would need a lot (a very large lot). You would also have to spray them at multiple altitudes. All in all, not all that easy.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38749214)

It is a simple numbers game, thanks to the explosive method of distribution, the spread becomes quite large affecting all possible orbits, even large ellipse orbits, a straight up random distribution. A large percentage falling back to earth who cares, a typical artillery shell can pack 15,000 flechettes in there, a single large ballistic rocket and your talking millions, then ramp up the number of rockets and space is locked out for quite some time. Keep in mind it's not about missing once, it's about missing every time for years possibly tens of thousands of orbits, times by tens of millions of projectiles. You can bet your bottom dollar dollar satellite launch insurance would go right through the roof.

Still oddly enough when it comes to a WMD stand off threat still better than a nuke, because threat to life is absolutely minimal, yet major corporations profits are threatened and, countries space satellite superiority is eliminated. This versus say trying to block a water way for an extended period in the face of a military threat, the effort needed to maintain that blockade versus the one time saturation effort to block off access for decades even centuries.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747918)

Quite a few countries could already threaten all the worlds access in this manner, space blackmail a veritable earth orbit doomsday weapon.

They could, but why would they? Most countries want access to space, after all it is the best way to deliver nukes to their enemies. In fact it's the only way, and nukes are the only things that can keep countries like the US in check because their conventional armies are so big.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (3, Insightful)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748536)

They could, but why would they? Most countries want access to space, after all it is the best way to deliver nukes to their enemies. In fact it's the only way, and nukes are the only things that can keep countries like the US in check because their conventional armies are so big.

Smuggling works, too. If you have a channel in place to bring in 350 kilos of cocaine, bringing in a nuke is a piece of cake.

Downside of course is the blackmail from the smuggler, but hey, all those drug cartels have gang wars all the time, right? Who'd notice one more body? Especially when DHS tells the cops to go grab a donut, this is NATIONAL SECURITY again.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (2)

SDF-7 (556604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748290)

Why anti-grav? I would think a reasonably heavily armored (which a lot of it has to be anyway) Orion drive craft would suffice. Yeah, you'd get whining about the emissions in the atmosphere on the way up -- but balanced against all space programs shut down and presumably loss of the existing satellite capabilities, you could credibly believe that at least one country would get over it and just do it.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (2)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746904)

I don't have problem believing it. I just guess it will be interpreted like non-proliferation treaties concerning WMDs - we can have it, but others will be invaded for trying.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747114)

This sounds like an expansion of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty [wikipedia.org] which the US and most of the world has already signed onto.

The bigger issue though is that with the Chinese blowing up satellites to puff up their defense it's gotten quite crowded up there, and I'm guessing that there will be limits to that sort of behavior in the future. At least until such time as somebody finds an efficient way of removing the shrapnel from space.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748326)

Like anyone would trust the Americans to follow a "code of conduct". Rules are for chumps.

Re:Why do I have a hard time believing this ? (1)

thereitis (2355426) | more than 2 years ago | (#38749040)

I could see someone simply redefining 'space' at a convenient time. "It's not in space, it's in orbit within Earth's magnetosphere"

Frist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746568)

Trash.

In a universe full of cosmic debris (1)

xmorg (718633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746582)

Define "space trash"

Re:In a universe full of cosmic debris (2)

Mannfred (2543170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746598)

Debris in close orbit around Earth? Trailer parks in year 2200?

Re:In a universe full of cosmic debris (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746606)

Poor space folks that live in spacetrailers.

You know, greennecks, meteorbillys, spackers, those sort.

Re:In a universe full of cosmic debris (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746610)

Same as white trash, but green

Re:In a universe full of cosmic debris (1)

azalin (67640) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746626)

Probably my own fault, but now I've got an image of "Jerry Springer in Space" in my mind that I can't get rid of.
"So Klxxxxri your boyfriend had an affair with those Vogon twins over here while you were pregnant with 900 of his offsprings..."

Re:In a universe full of cosmic debris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747076)

Definition: Cubesat

SOPA? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746586)

I know this is off topic, but it's an important point: why didn't /. go dark during the SOPA web protests? Politics may not be "news for nerds", but online censorship certainly is.

Re:SOPA? (-1, Offtopic)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746614)

What would be the point? I don't think there's anybody who reads /. and is not already opposed to SOPA.
They did run a couple of articles about SOPA during the blackout.

Re:SOPA? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746632)

drill back, they did, as in did one post on SOPA then no articles for the day, or something of the sort. Also as many have said, preaching to the choir

Re:SOPA? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746948)

We heard about the big sites going dark, but a lot of smaller less well known websites also went dark. It's not about preaching to the choir, it's about showing solidarity. That's how protest works. Poor show on /.'s part.

Re:SOPA? (0)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747894)

This is /.

Loads of anonymous cowards.

Whoops, sorry.

Re:SOPA? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746676)

Wikipedia wasn't even blacked out for people using Firefox + Noscript. Again, by the time you're doing that, you're probably aware enough to be opposed to SOPA already.

Re:SOPA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38750454)

It wasn't blacked out for anyone with an esc key

Too bad they can't even deal with internet conduct (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746594)

Yep, your goverment is useless. The terrorists have won. The next 9/11 won't be a building destruction, but from genocide of freedom.

space honor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746648)

Chivalry is dead. In the middle ages to high Renaissance, there was real honor among space, a probe would hold orbit at a respectable distance, a satellite would orbit the Earth in endless revolutions, all for the love of a woman. Now, what do we have. A woman President, and space probes beaming GPS data at commoners. Chivalry is dead.

Reading between the lines... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746722)

"There is also the desire to keep space free of military weaponry."

'Desire' is such a vague word. In contrast with the last part from the statement made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,
you can create your own interpretation of what that means.

"As we begin this work, the United States has made clear to our partners that we will not enter into a code of conduct that in any way constrains our national security-related activities in space or our ability to protect the United States and our allies."

Re:Reading between the lines... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748386)

translation: let us keep our spysats (don't read too much into it)

Re:Reading between the lines... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38750560)

Any country that values freedom must demand that space be demilitarized. There's nothing preventing the military from using directed energy weapons or lasers on peaceful civilian targets. These weapons are any tyrants dream for maintaining control over a population and instilling mass fear. When used on a person they may not know what's happening to them and it's very hard to determine the source. Granted space lasers don't yet exist, the amount of power they require doesn't make them feasible as of yet. If and when this technology becomes available expect all hell to break loose. I for one will be heading for the hills.

What it says. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746724)

The usa gets everything including anything any other country does.. And everyone else gets whatever we don't want.

And we'll let you help pay for it all too.

So now (5, Insightful)

delta98 (619010) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746784)

is a good time to decide that shitting in the same bowl we eat out of is a bad idea?

Re:So now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746942)

For a broke nation, space will only get more unaffordable. Time you get all the rules in place, and I will be happy to watch as China steps out of each treaty :) as time goes by, and they amass more power.

Re:So now (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747158)

We aren't broke.  The government has decided to let the 1% keep their capital and reinvest it in other countries for future exploitation since the cost of local exploitation has become higher than external sources.

Re:So now (2)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748402)

Just because it took forever to come to the idea, doesn't mean you shouldn't bother with it. Yes, now is a good a time as ever.

Re:So now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38750836)

We (well, the 1% anyway) still haven't figured that out back here on Earth...

Ilmu Pengetahuan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746786)

Temukan lebih banyak kontent di ilmu pengetahuan [ilmupengetahuan.info]

Funny ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746788)

... the US realizes that it no longer has the upper hand in space to such a degree that it can simply enforce any rules it cares to come up with ... so it suddenly discovers that there should be nice simple straightforward rules that should apply equally to everyone. How the mighty are being caught up with.

Spy Satellites ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746870)

Aren't spy satellites considered weapons too? If so, US already has a bunch.

Re:Spy Satellites ? (2)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746884)

Aren't spy satellites considered weapons too?

They are if you cunningly deorbit them so they fall on somebody's head

Re:Spy Satellites ? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746980)

They also are if you change their orbit to crash into another satellite ...

Re:Spy Satellites ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746992)

By your logic a spy sent to an enemy country is not in any way comparable to a soldier. Which is not the case; military used spies for ages now.

The foreign country would disagree, of course, and the spy, if caught, would end up in prison or worse. Isn't this how US last treated people thought to be spies for Russia ?

Re:Spy Satellites ? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747332)

We shipped them back to Russia, so I guess it depends on your POV.

Re:Spy Satellites ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38748054)

We shipped them back to Russia, so I guess it depends on your POV.

I wonder if the same would have happened if they would have been Iranian spies instead of Russians. Russia is not considered an enemy country, but more like competition. The Cold War ended a while ago.

Concern about 14 ton Russian Mars probe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746910)

Perhaps it was the concern that the nearly 14 ton Russian Mars probe would land smack-dab on the White House

If that were true, perhaps someone could put a 15 ton DNS router in orbit, with some orbit parameters built in that depend on certain internet conditions...

OK, I suppose this thought experiment hints the falsity of the first supposition. Not to say that the DNS router wouldn't be fun nevertheless....

Re:Concern about 14 ton Russian Mars probe (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747562)

There was the rather amusing story recently of a hacker group proposing to build a free-access global communication network in space beyond the authority of government to censor. No mention of how they might fund such a venture though. Such practical considerations often elude idealists.

Not Military weapons (0)

Yev000 (985549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38746938)

Since the US has no lift capacity any more the weapons would have to be civilian.

Re:Not Military weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747026)

Since the US has no lift capacity any more the weapons would have to be civilian.

What makes you think so ? The US spy satellites are put in orbit with the Delta IV rocket.
So the US maintains access to space, just not using the obsolete and decomissioned Shuttle.

Re:Not Military weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747204)

The only lift capability we have is military, or based on military boosters.

Re:Not Military weapons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747220)

You have no i-fucking-dea what you're talking about.

Militarised space is a good thing.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38746946)

I think that space should be militarised. It would put all nations on an equal footing. Iran's orbital cannon no better or worse than the US's orbital cannon. But if the US is trigger happy and invades/attacks/imposes what are basically war sanctions on Iran, Iran can respond with a nice shot on Washington DC. That should put a little bit of restraint on the bully of the world.
Right now no country can seriously respond to an american agression, military space hardware changes for the better the situation.
So I say go for space. Put orbital weapons up there etc... It can only be good for technological progress and for keeping world peace.

Re:Militarised space is a good thing.... (3, Insightful)

Djehuty3 (1371395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747228)

Kessler Syndrome. Go look it up.

Militarisation of space is bad for everybody.

the simpsons (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747430)

Well, here I am, right on time. I don't see Barney "Let's crash the rocket into the White House and kill the President Gumble..

international treaties (2)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38747482)

Signing a treaty is not enough.

The International Committee of Red Cross http://www.icrc.org/ [icrc.org] conducts large scale games in Switzerland where ICRC's voluntaries work together with school students in the field. One part of students are military, another part is POW (prisoners of war), yet another civilians.

The voluntaries explain students and train them in realistic circumstances (tents, bridges, mountains, etc.) how to keep and question POWs, how to treat civilians during military operations, how to handle wounded, etc. in accordance with the Geneva Convention http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions [wikipedia.org]

It is a very good approach, because kids and teenagers not only learn the right rules, but also how to stick to them in realistic conditions.

We saw recently many cases how military personnel did not follow the Geneva Convention (to put it mildly), even though a country did sign it. Perhaps, it would be a good idea to teach students at school during such field exercises how to follow it.

Re:international treaties (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748624)

The Geneva convention only applies if BOTH sides agree. In addition, both sides must be nation-states. How does a non-state actor ratify the convention? Answer: they can't. Moreover, under the Geneva convention, what is the proper treatment for a captured terrorist? If you said anything but "immediate battlefield execution", you really need to read the Geneva convention before running your mouth off about it.

Re:international treaties (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38749796)

I do not want to single out the USA at all.

As for the Geneva convention, any law or treaty has letters and spirit. If a native warrior wears banana leaves around his body, it is not a uniform from the point of view of an advanced army, but it may well be sort of a uniform in that part of the world.

The Geneva convention can be condensed to this: treat people under your control decently, the way you want to be treated yourself in the same circumstances. Certainly, if someone armed approaches with an intent to cause harm, it is another story.

What I wanted to tell is that the conventions and treaties are not followed routinely, even though a government did sign them. The work, which the ICRC does in this respect, definitely has value.

Re:international treaties (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38749012)

The USA followed the Geneva Convection to the letter. The Convection doesn't apply to non-uniformed officers using vehicles without military insignia to accomplish war. AKA fielding plain closed soldiers in a crowd of innocent civilians to get close to uniformed soldiers. Then detonating a bomb that takes out more civilians then enemy soldiers instantly removes you and everyone in that chain of command from the Geneva Convection. You can sign any treaty if you don't follow it or even try to, you can't expect your enemies to ether.

Re:international treaties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38750522)

Signing a treaty is as worthless as the paper it's written on. Now they are usually used just to try to make the general public feel warm and fuzzy, while the governments continue to do whatever they want.

For example, if China decided it wanted to try to take over the world, why would it bother to abide by the Geneva Conventions? In this scenario, they already assume they will win. If they do win, who's going to hold them accountable?

Some treaties are also useless, like the Moon Treaty, that hasn't be signed or ratified by any of the major space powers (One exception, India signed). It's nice to know that Uruguay won't build a military outpost in space, but the chances they were going to in the first place was already close to nil.

Then of course you also have the countries that just ignore any conditions of treaties they sign. Like the US has done many times with the WTO, NAFTA, and even the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to name a few.

Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38747666)

I thought this was going to be a lot more interesting:

1. No loud music while on dark side of planet
2. No cooking smelly foods.
3. Every nation must take turns clearing the internation space dinner table.

Turns out its just a bunch of hoop-la about armeggedon prevention.

One man's trash (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38748092)

Instead of considering it a massive amount of space trash, perhaps we should look at it as an abundant source of refined materials already in orbit. Rather than launching new material, it may be more cost effective to establish a means to gather what's there and assemble basic structures (nothing complex, mind you), just shells that can contain other equipment. A way to get larger hulls in space without the trouble of launching them.

Free of weaponry? Big haha (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38748340)

A few countries already have anti-satellite weaponry:

"Currently, only the United States, the former Soviet Union, and the People's Republic of China are known to have developed these weapons." *

Besides, an agreement like that really means none of the people signing it will actually adhere to it until they get caught.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-satellite_weapon [wikipedia.org]

Space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38749778)

Space. Space code. A code in space.

Want to see me? Buy a telescope. I'll be in space! With a code.

Space code.

Military? (3, Funny)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38750616)

"There is also the desire to keep space free of military weaponry."

How about non-military weaponry?

Having my own private orbiting death ray would be great for salary negotiations.

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