Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Bush Reveals New Space Policy

CmdrTaco posted about 8 years ago | from the go-there-get-stuff-come-back dept.

510

Josh Fink writes "Space.com is reporting that President Bush has unveiled his new space policy. From the article: 'U.S. assets must be unhindered in carrying out their space duties,' the Bush space policy says, stressing that 'freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.'... As a civil space guideline, the policy calls upon NASA to 'execute a sustained and affordable human and robotic program of space exploration and develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe.' While this policy does seem to push for more civil involvement in space for exploration and research, the article does go on to say, 'The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries."' So it will push into the intelligence community, and will supercede a similar policy from 1996. You can read the entire policy."

cancel ×

510 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Nuclear Propulsion (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#16363903)

There's one part of the policy I found particularly interesting:
The United States will oppose the development of new legal regimes or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space. Proposed arms control agreements or restrictions must not impair the rights of the United States to conduct research, development, testing, and operations or other activities in space for U.S. national interests.

Can you say, "Nuclear Space Drive"? :D

Bush's policy effectively states that the usage of nuclear power as engines of exploration is considered to take priority over any over-reaching treaties that ban nuclear power for the purposes of weaponry. Which means that the United States would consider a treaty like the 1963 Test Ban Treaty [wikipedia.org] (the one that effectively killed the Orion [wikipedia.org] ) to not apply to space propulsion. Which, IMHO, can only be a good thing in the modern day world.

Any concerns over the environmental effects of launch are much more effectively handled by environmental groups rather than treaties designed with weapons in mind rather than actual fall-out issues. If they have a realistic concern, then the public will have an opportunity to evaluate that concern, and either take action or reject it. (The latter happening with the Cassini-Huygens [wikipedia.org] environmental protest.)

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16364095)

Oh, yeah, Bush throwing away the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty like he did the Geneva Conventions "can only be a good thing in the modern day world".

On a day when everyone's freaking out because Bush let the N Koreans go nuclear, you think more nukes, in space, "can only be a good thing"?

Run by Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon? The Rumsfeld who's lobbying to throw away the "antiquated" US government structure [washingtonpost.com] that makes the president less than an emperor.

Can you say "Global Thermonuclear War"? Can you say anything other than "oooh, nuclear space drive", or look away from your monitor at the real world?

Take me to your Litre (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 8 years ago | (#16364171)

Space-based MIRVs.

It's like Missle Command. With a self-denying alcoholic on the rampage.

Trying 2 prevent Space Research unifying the Earth (2, Insightful)

nadanumber (992974) | about 8 years ago | (#16364443)

The uber-narcissistic Bush administration is terrified of one of the most exciting potential benefits of space research, its potential of making human beings realize just how alike we are and how precious the Earth is for our species survival, and so they hope to militarize space research and exploration to prevent its powerful, unifying effect on humanity. This kind of thinking has the potential to hurt the US tremendously because the rest of the world will cooperate on space research despite us, setting us back still further both scientifically and economically. The US is coasting on past achievements now. It won't last.

Re:Take me to your Litre (0, Troll)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16364569)

Bush's entire career reminds me of Space Invaders.
Da... Dum. ...
Da.. Dum. ...
Da.. Dum. ..
Da. Dum. ..
Da. Dum.
.
Da Dum.
.
Da Dum.
Da Dum
DaDum

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (1)

MECC (8478) | about 8 years ago | (#16364337)

Nuke them from orbit. Its the only way to be sure.

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (0, Flamebait)

Tekzel (593039) | about 8 years ago | (#16364351)

Can you say wild overreaction? Can you say schizophrenia? Can you say lift the tin foil full face helmet so you can breathe?

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (0, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16364487)

Can you say "DENIAL"? I knew you couldn't.

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (1, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#16364513)

Good God, there are a lot of Bush Hating trolls out today. Your comment speaks more of ignorance than insightfulness.

Here's the rundown of the situation:

1. This portion of the policy does not make space weaponry legal. It only says that weapons regulations should not prevent the development of technology required for space travel. Which, like it or not, is AN ABSOLUTE MUST should we humans ever want to travel in space. Chemical engines simply can't provide the power or life support capabilities that nuclear power can.

2. The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was a Cold War artifact. The U.S. signed it to get certain concessions from the USSR. It also helped prevent issues like the contamination of Bikini Atol. In the future, it will continue to protect us against weapons testing, but should not inhibit craft bound for other celestial locations.

3. What exactly would putting nukes in space do that we can't already do? Allow us to bomb Iraq? Oh, too late. We already own their skies, and can reach them with ICBMs anyway. Allow us to bomb Iran? Well, we can own their skies in an instant, and we still have the ICBM option. Bomb China? See: Iran. Basically, space-based nukes would be useless. We already have the delivery systems to send them anywhere we want (*through* space rather than *in* space), at any time we want. There is no country on this Earth with the technology to stop our missiles. The only use in getting nukes in space would be to use them in Space Combat. And we're a LONG way from worrying about that.

4. The Rumsfield issue is another problem. Don't want that to happen? Donate to and support your local freedom foundation that will prosecute Supreme Court cases that further limit the President's ability. Last I checked, the Constitution is still in effect. Should the government continue to push aside our freedoms, then may I suggest you exercise your constitutional right to arm yourself to the teeth?

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364589)

You're going to regret this post when someone drags it up later to say "I told you so" Of course, by then you'll be making up other excuses and burying your head in other places

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (1)

EatHam (597465) | about 8 years ago | (#16364529)

Of course. That makes a lot of sense given that we are likely to go from nothing to a fully functioning nuclear armed star ship while Bush is still in office.

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16364607)

Yes, a starship that will greet us as liberators, throwing flowers.

"No one could have anticipated that the nuclear spaceship would kill hundreds of thousands of people" - Bush's 2009 "Emergency Reinauguration Speech"

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (1)

secretasiandan (614112) | about 8 years ago | (#16364599)

I'm not really sure where you get the idea that the parent was praising proliferation of weapson. Parent poster specifically stated that saying the treaty does "not apply to space propulsion" is a positive development for space propulsion. I do think that its correct to fear how the administration might use this wiggle room to do less constructive things, but you don't make that distinction.

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 8 years ago | (#16364139)

"Any concerns over the environmental effects of launch are much more effectively handled by environmental groups rather than treaties"
No not really.
The environmental groups protest everything with involving the "n word".
It is almost to the point that they are the boy that cried wolf.
I fear that if a project has any real danger involved that they will be ignored as they have been for all the launches where they where just being silly.
I would rather have the treaties. I actually do trust the experts more than people the environmental groups.

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (1)

shystershep (643874) | about 8 years ago | (#16364553)

The point is that the treaties were not written by 'experts' in the sense you mean. They were written to stop nuclear proliferation -- a 'good thing' of course -- but had the unintentional result of stopping research on nuclear propulsion systems. Despite the hysterical comments from the ignorant, the original poster's point was that the treaties were not written with nuclear propulsion in mind, and should not be applied to stop such research. This is not about weapons -- Bush isn't (at least here) abrogating these treaties, just stating that they will not be applied in a way that their overly-broad language could be considered to apply (i.e., blocking nuclear propulsion systems instead of just nuclear weapons).

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364153)


Can you say, "Nuclear Space Drive"? :D


You swallowed that one hook line an sinker.

Can you say "Star Wars"? :D

The Bush administration doesn't give a flying fsck about Orion. They just don't want any inconveninces (like existing international treaties)to get in the way of deploying weapons in space.

Sucker.

Re:Nuclear Propulsion (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364397)

"Can you say, "Nuclear Space Drive"? :D"

Sure I can, but I'm not sure the President can manage it.

Further proof... (5, Funny)

xENoLocO (773565) | about 8 years ago | (#16363907)

...that Bush is, in fact, a space cadet.

(Oh come on you knew it was coming)

Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#16363913)

Whats the betting we would be there in under 12months?

It might even be enough to tell him that there are devices with Nuculear capabilities there.

Sorry, but there's no oil there... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 years ago | (#16363959)

And if Bush was so all-God-fired about just WMD or Nukes (and I see you've taken to the President's pheonic spelling convention), then we would have been a bit more proactive on the N. Korean front.

Re:Sorry, but there's no oil there... (1)

deKernel (65640) | about 8 years ago | (#16364241)

And gee what should he have done? He told the international community that they will be a problem, and what has the international community done about it? Did you say squat?

Now I might be laying down an overreaching generalization here, but I would bet that you are in the same group of people that believe that it is wrong for us to be Iraq.

So what should we have done about North Korea? We could have talked and attempted to negotiate a ..... oh wait, tried that one. Kinda hard to negotiate with a crazy person isn't it?

Easy to sit back and bitch, but unless you have a solution just pipe down.

P.S. I am all for lighting up our big "crowd pleasers" on North Korea to make a statement for the other rogue crazy leaders (hint: Middle East) so they realize that we really aren't the Great Satan they say we are.

Re:Sorry, but there's no oil there... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 years ago | (#16364321)

I say we (meaning the US, S. Korea, and Japan, (others?)) should have lived up to to terms of our agreement with NK back in 1994. That would have been a good start.

I also think that if we hadn't been spending so much time defending GHWB's honor, we would have had more presidential time devoted to finding a solution to this. As it is, Bush appears to have mostly blown off N. Korea with his "I won't negotiate" stance. As President there are a lot of things which will demand your time - you don't need to go looking for them, or you'll end up with too much to focus on.

Re:Sorry, but there's no oil there... (1)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | about 8 years ago | (#16364497)

As it is, Bush appears to have mostly blown off N. Korea with his "I won't negotiate" stance.

You are on crack. Bush has been trying to get North Korea at the table for six party talks since the beginning of his presidency. Whereas he gets skewered for 'going it alone' in Iraq (with 18 UN resolutions and 3 congressional authorizations of force) he gets skewered for not 'going it alone' on North Korea.

And nobody talks about Albright [wikipedia.org] or Carter and their great efforts in North Korea. Boy, that worked great.

Both governments are compulsive liars (1)

nadanumber (992974) | about 8 years ago | (#16364593)

Both need the other to 'justify their exisTENSE'.

I have often wondered if they have some kind of secret agreement, ever since the NK missile test on the eve of Japan's vote on purchasing an expensive US missile warning system in the 90s.

When US will to continue spending on obscenely expensive, unproven missile systems or neocon popularity falls, NK rattles the saber.

Not to say that North Korea isn't a hellhole, perhaps the worst place on Earth to live, it is. However, the US should be doing more constructive things to upset Kim Jong Ils apple cart. Instead, everything we do plays into their movie of us and conversely, them of ours of them. Its like a VERY bad movie, except its unfortunately true.

Thats what happens when narcissists rule. Terrible things happen. For example, look at World War II. (Hitler, Stalin were narcissists according to the OSS psychological analysis of them)

Nobody is questioning whether Bush and Cheney are narcissists either. They are the classic examples. So is Kim Jong Il.

There are imaging tools now that can identify these people by barinwave patterns. They should be used to weed out politicians with NPD, before they are allowed to gain power.

Maybe there is oil (0, Flamebait)

WindBourne (631190) | about 8 years ago | (#16364299)

republicans have several theories for oil
  1. Oil was put on this planet by God for our use. If so, then God may have placed s***-loads on Mars to encourage Americans to get there quickly and own it all.
  2. that oil is created deep in the earth and has absolutely nothing to do with a limited supply. In fact, a few wells in Texas that were thought to be dry via 70's tech, showed up alive again in the late 90's as a means to prove that.

:)

There are some in North Korea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363971)

He is not truly interested unless they are a good excuse to achieve ulterior motives.

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

xmedar (55856) | about 8 years ago | (#16363987)

The Martians are in league with The Terra-ists!

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

Kangburra (911213) | about 8 years ago | (#16364047)

The Martians are in league with The Terra-ists!


That is so good/bad! LOL

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

uncadonna (85026) | about 8 years ago | (#16364295)

Actually, there is plenty of solar energy to be scooped up in space. No clouds, and if you go high enough, no nighttime either. Getting it shipped back to earth is the problem, of course, but it is a serious option.

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | about 8 years ago | (#16364527)

My vote is for energon cubes.

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364301)

That's right. The Bush administration will only provide further funding to NASA if they come up with a search and destroy Predator rover, to hunt down Al-Qaeda bases and sniff out WMDs on Mars and develop a lunar penal colony for pedophiles. Next, force NASA researchers and scientists to come up with intelligent design theories to support his doctrine of dumbing down American science and technology efforts. 2 more years! 2 more years! Can't wait what another 2 more years brings us. We just lost habeas corpus again, the last time was 225 years ago [wikipedia.org] . I wonder what our Orwellian masters are planning next?

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

Kangburra (911213) | about 8 years ago | (#16364011)

Or there are huge oil reserves, that should do it.

Of course that would mean there was life there at some point wouldn't it?

Re:Someone should tell bush about WMD on Mars (1)

vtcodger (957785) | about 8 years ago | (#16364537)

***Whats the betting we would be there in under 12months?***

No argument that we'd be on our way within a year. Three will get you five that we'd end up someplace else, insist it was Mars, and end up neck deep in some sort of major difficulties.

George W. Douchebag (-1, Troll)

Luscious868 (679143) | about 8 years ago | (#16363919)

Enjoy your impeachment you cock master!

Re:George W. Douchebag (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364031)

If you impeach him, then Cheney becomes president, no? err, I'll take the idiot over the evil mastermind. It at least provides amusement (though not with not any more protection)

Re:George W. Douchebag (1)

Son.Of.Dad (1010199) | about 8 years ago | (#16364227)

If you impeach him, then Cheney becomes president, no? The only difference is that he would then have the title to go along with the already over-utilized power. I mean, hell, you can see his freakin lips move as it is...
Not a very good puppet show, IMO.

I do find it quite amazing (5, Interesting)

Neuropol (665537) | about 8 years ago | (#16363923)

Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.

Isn't that like one tenth of what we blow on a war ... weekly?

Mod this to oblivion, regardless of what positive action he takes, I still don't like him.

Re:I do find it quite amazing (5, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#16364063)

Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.

You might be surprised, but a lot of space advocates would agree with this. The ISS, for all it's design and hardware, is a useless space station that can only be serviced properly by the Space Shuttle. Had compromises not been made earlier, the station would be worth holding on to. But as it is right now, the station sits in an orbit that's incredibly hard to reach, cannot be used as a lunar launching point, and isn't even all that spectacular for scientific endeavours.

A much more useful future would be to take that $200M per mission, and spend it on lots and lots of inexpensive, inflatible space stations [bigelowaerospace.com] . These stations could provide all the facilities of the ISS, but at a lower cost of launch and operation. If a particular station outlives its usefulness, a new one could be launched rather than trying to maintain aging hardware.

The ability to spread our resources across multiple stations would also mean that we could put Space Stations where-ever they're useful. Need one to support moon missions? Done. Need a different orbit to support Mars missions? Done. Need a temporary construction yard for a spaceship? Done.

Those options simply don't exist with the current station. So believe it or not, there may be some method to Bush's seeming madness about space.

Re:I do find it quite amazing (2, Funny)

QuickFox (311231) | about 8 years ago | (#16364495)

there may be some method to Bush's seeming madness

Come on, try to be be realistic.

Re:I do find it quite amazing (1)

amigabill (146897) | about 8 years ago | (#16364357)

Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.

The ISS is not a weapon, which makes it a waste of money. Even if Bush had some way to force it out of orbit, it'd probably burn up before it hit anything he'd want to wreck with it.

Re:I do find it quite amazing (2, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | about 8 years ago | (#16364361)

Because not two months ago, he wanted to shut down the ISS missions because they were estimated to cost $200M.


Anyone truely interested in the exploration of space should be desperate to see NASA shut down. I don't like him either but it's hardly a useful dig to complain about closing down the orbiting money toilet known as ISS. The fact is every penny Nasa gets should be spent on research and engineering to replace the shuttle with something far cheaper to launch.

Space Race 2.0 (3, Informative)

Lave (958216) | about 8 years ago | (#16363925)

So they need to "ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries" days after the US admits that china "beamed a ground-based laser at U.S. spy satellites over its territory." (from: http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-10-05-satel lite-laser_x.htm?POE=TECISVA [usatoday.com] .)

So it seems the Space Arms Race is begining afresh. We just have to hope that the technology it produces outweighs the destruction.

Re:Space Race 2.0 (1)

dsanfte (443781) | about 8 years ago | (#16364263)

Let it happen already. I am sick of this lazy little waiting game.

A lack of open hostilities is not peace. And anyway, what will we get? A few damaged satellites? Oh, the humanity, the destruction...

Government needs a Logic Advisor (4, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | about 8 years ago | (#16364515)

"ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries"
 

... means "ensure only we have freedom of action in space"

... which means "no freedom of action in space".

That's pretty much what we'd expect from that source, but it doesn't make it any better.

Surely there should be some sort of Logic Advisor sitting next to the President's speech writers. I don't imagine that he wants to look evil and dishonest in front of a world audience well versed in elementary logic.

Competition Breeds Innovation (4, Insightful)

BeeBeard (999187) | about 8 years ago | (#16364603)

Since WW II, the U.S. has loomed as the most militarily and economically powerful nation in the world. Now China is making a bid to become a hegemony of its own. This is a Good Thing [tm].

Superior might through superior technology has always been the mantra of developed nations. Consequently, the U.S. experienced huge gains over the last few decades due to (perceived) competition with the Russians. Like it or not, most of the best technologies we have were originally purposed for military applications, financed through the Pentagon system, and then gradually re-purposed for civilian use (the Internet being a great example of this). This has always been the silver lining.

It would be melodramatic to claim that the U.S. is on the brink of another Cold War, this time with the Chinese. However, "friendly" competition with China will help the space program, it will help Silicon Valley--it will help the United States in any area in which there is a perceived technological deficiency.

We stand to gain so much if we're not all blown to bits first.

Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16363929)

... use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe.
 
We be broke so start saving and pooling your Virgin Air points

talk is cheap ... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | about 8 years ago | (#16363931)

... space ain't

Re:talk is cheap ... (1)

jackharrer (972403) | about 8 years ago | (#16363981)

It's still cheaper and more useful than war. Look few posts above.

Is this possible? (2, Interesting)

grims (602269) | about 8 years ago | (#16363979)

Ive had this question in my mind since a loong time, but is it possible legally for any one country to claim things in space as part of their country?

For example can the US claim the Moon or Mars (in future) just because they landed their countrymen on the body, and planted some flags?
Are there any legal guidelines for this?

Re:Is this possible? (1)

randommemoryaccess (922901) | about 8 years ago | (#16364123)

I read somewhere that there is already a large number of people, who have purchased land on the moon, starting legal proceedings against the american government for just so an occasion. Is there a global set of laws to rule against such things? How does the whole thing work? From what I understand, a law in the UK doesn't stand in the US, France, or Iraq for that matter. I would suspect it to be true for all countries, and therefore space also.

Re:Is this possible? (1)

ip_fired (730445) | about 8 years ago | (#16364275)

Haha, who did they pay the money to to purchase land on the moon? Man, what a great scam! Considering that nobody "owns" the moon currently, how can you possibly charge money to buy a chunk of it?

I think that planting a flag is probably the way it's going to work. I mean, how did the explorers from Europe claim land? There is no land to "buy" because there is nobody there.

A quick search on google shows that there are apprently many companies "selling" property on the moon. Good grief!

Re:Is this possible? (1)

randommemoryaccess (922901) | about 8 years ago | (#16364437)

Good point. I remember it was something to do with a loop-hole in one of the laws that some clever sod used to "claim" the moon, and started selling land. Something like 25Euro per acre. Or something.

Re:Is this possible? (1)

SABME (524360) | about 8 years ago | (#16364461)

If Martian or Lunar colonies become self-sufficient, it is possible that they may declare themselves independent of any Earth-based government. "Off-world" settlements are so distant that governments based on Earth will have no practical means of exerting control.

Re:Is this possible? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364167)

IANAL but I am taking an International Law course right now :)

Unless significant changes have occurred in recent years, the status of outer space is roughly equivalent to what the High Seas have been for a long time: "res communis," or community property. This means, effectively, that space should be open to anyone who can get there. It also means that any crimes committed there in the future probably could not be prosecuted unless the prosecuting country had some connection, to the victim for instance. Google for the "1967 UN treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space." That should give you all the information you want ;)

Effectively: Space is "the province of all mankind" and "not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty." I don't think this treaty will hold forever, as eventually (I hope!) mankind will go to other planets and stars en masse, but for now this is the general rule of thumb. Note that it seems to go against President Bush's comments.

Re:Is this possible? (1)

bri2000 (931484) | about 8 years ago | (#16364191)

Yes, the Space Treaty 1967 deals with this. Article II states "Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means."

The US is a party to this.

Re:Is this possible? (1)

kfg (145172) | about 8 years ago | (#16364217)

. . .is it possible legally for any one country to claim things in space as part of their country?

Not legally no.

Are there any legal guidelines for this?

For example can the US claim the Moon or Mars (in future) just because they landed their countrymen on the body, and planted some flags?

No, you would have to defend the territory militarily. In political language; "annex" it.

Yes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty [wikipedia.org]

If you wanna go 'splain it to that group of laser cannon armed marines over there, we're looking for a volunteer.

KFG

Re:Is this possible? (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 8 years ago | (#16364231)

What you want is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty [wikipedia.org] . It's an agreement between the major super-powers that no Earthly country will own celestial bodies, and that these places exist for the exploration of all mankind.

I expect that this treaty would be modified once space colonies become common (a country, corporation, or individual would obviously "own" the property on which its Space Habitats reside, as it "owns" those habitats), but that's a matter that will be worked out when that bridge is crossed.

FWIW, historical property laws do offer some guidance. The original property laws provided complete ownership for everything below a property, and all the sky above a property. These laws have been modified as new technologies like airplanes and spacecraft made the skies above open space, and subways, power, and gas made the areas below into necessary points of infrastructure.

Re:Is this possible? (3, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | about 8 years ago | (#16364279)

Where do people get the idea that something like international laws actually exist? If a country decides to do something they'll just rewrite their own laws to allow it. If someone decides to ignore the UN or what not then it's not "illegal".

The only real question is whether or not they can actually back up such a claim in a way that will make other countries go along with it.

Re:Is this possible? (1)

theStorminMormon (883615) | about 8 years ago | (#16364347)

Ive had this question in my mind since a loong time, but is it possible legally for any one country to claim things in space as part of their country?

This is kind of a silly question, but a revealing one. Citizens of a nation are subject to the laws of that nation pretty unambiguously. No matter what you want to do, your actions can be held against a codified standard of conduct and found to be legal or illegal. But this is precisely because an individual citizen is without question subject to the rules of his gov't (by philosophy if you like, by force if you reject that). They can't even really just leave the country and abandon their citizen ship (try killing someone in the U.S., fleeing to Canada, and trying to switch citizenships to avoid prosecution.)

Nations, however, are not analogous to citizens. There is no international gov't that all nations are subject to. There's no universal, international authority. The U.N. lacks both the philosophical, legal, and military credibility to serve that role and there are no other close competitors. So, without a meta-national institution to make laws to govern nations, there's really no such thing as international law that all nations are subject to.

The international law that does exist is a very different beast. Take the E.U. is an example. It does provide international law to member nations, but as such it is just a contract between nations, and doesn't rise to the level of having power over other nations. So the E.U. could make it illegal for E.U. nations to claim part of space, but not for the US (or Canada, etc.) There's really no such thing as international law other than ad hoc treaties between nations.

So it seems pretty obvious that, at this point, there's no government to deem seizing part of space as national territory. It's neither illegal nor legal at this point. The fact that neither the US nor any other nation has attempted to claim territory out there (as far as I know) reflects the simple fact that no one has the resources to waste attempting to defend such a claim. And, as with practically all extra-legal disputes - any such dispute over territorial claims would likely eventually come down to might-makes-right.

It's not as though extra-terrestial disputes are uniquely a-legal, however. It's pretty hard to say that any international action on the part of one nation or another is illegal. It may violate treaties, but that's not the same thing as breaking a law. Wars, invasions, annexations... none of these things are illegal in the same sense that theft, murder and tax evasion are.

Summary: international law not only doesn't exist, it's an oxymoron. In order to have nations subject to binding laws would require the creation of - at the minimum - a federation of those nations that would effectively create a new nation.

-stormin

Re:Is this possible? (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | about 8 years ago | (#16364369)

They can claim all they want, but it's useless if they don't have the means to defend their territory. So the US can own the Moon, Mars, etc if it feels like making the claim (and defending it)

Re:Is this possible? (1)

pant (814786) | about 8 years ago | (#16364457)

Sure it is possible, just send up some guns. Now if you can hold it, that is another matter.

That is what scares me about the Chinese wanting to establish a permanent base on the moon. They,(or us for that matter) could drop rocks with some atmosphere shielding and get, in effect, clean tacnuke type bombardment weapons. Yes the position of the Earth and Moon would limit operation windows, but this could make a nice blitzkrieg beginning for an attack.

Yeah, it is a bit paranoid, but I haven't been digging my bunker yet, and I know no one can just whip up a celestial satellite bombardment system like a chicken Kiev recipe. But who knows, maybe when I can purportedly start cashing Social Security checks, things might be different. I'm also split, as a moon based ground assist launch mediums may well be one of several keys allowing enabling extraterestrial settlement and exploitation.

Securing an other axis of evil??? (1)

muttoj (572791) | about 8 years ago | (#16364017)

[quote]'freedom of action in space is as important to the United States as air power and sea power.'... [/quote] What is Bush scared of? Some fundamentalist marsian threathend to blow up all US space going vehicles?

OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364039)

Totally off topic, but is that STUPID IBM AD breaking slashdot for anyone else? It's taking me to a new window where only the ad exists.

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (1)

Hiigara (649950) | about 8 years ago | (#16364077)

Me too.

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (1)

sxpert (139117) | about 8 years ago | (#16364373)

use adblock :D

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364091)

Me too. A judiciously-timed push of the Stop button appears to provide a temporary solution...

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (1)

beders (245558) | about 8 years ago | (#16364501)

Same here

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (1)

Kangburra (911213) | about 8 years ago | (#16364325)

You read slashdot and you don't have firefox & adblock?

Shame on you! ;-)

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (1)

x1n933k (966581) | about 8 years ago | (#16364365)

Beh oui happend to me too viewing this topic. It's time to stand up and shout!

[J]

Re:OT: IBM AD BREAKING PAGE LAYOUT! (1)

Skizmo (957780) | about 8 years ago | (#16364555)

what ad ?? *hint* .. firefox & adblock

Scientific knowledge? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364069)

develop, acquire, and use civil space systems to advance fundamental scientific knowledge of our Earth system, solar system, and universe

Gee, George, maybe you should start with science down here on the ground.

You've shown nothing but contempt for earth-bound scientific knowledge, except where it can help you bomb third-world countries into fourth-world countries. Why should we believe that you'd treat space any differently?

Re:Scientific knowledge? (0, Troll)

Trevin (570491) | about 8 years ago | (#16364359)

This isn't about science...

"The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to 'develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries.'"

This is about more war.

jesus. (3, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | about 8 years ago | (#16364079)

Wow, we can't discuss the article and what good could come of it, we ahve to immediatly start politician bashing. Hey lets just stop submiting articles to /. instead why don't we just put a article on the front page that says "George W. Bush. DISCUSS!"

We would get rid of all these useless interesting topics about technology and we could all just bitch with reckless abandon about our favorite politician.

I mean FUCKING HELL. If any other president had said this most of you asshats would be having fucking orgasam on the spot.

Re:jesus. (1)

muttoj (572791) | about 8 years ago | (#16364247)

You say it right. Any other president . . . .

Re:jesus. (1)

gnool (1005253) | about 8 years ago | (#16364323)

I see where you're coming from, but that still doesn't mean there isn't plenty to complain about :P To me this seems like an attempt at a distraction from the current "sending lewd messages to congressional pages" scandal, not to mention the "holy f#ck, we f#cked up the invasion of Iraq pretty good" scandal. Plus there's the rather legitimate complaints about spending lots of money on getting into space when millions of Americans don't have healthcare, millions of Americans live below the poverty line, billions of American dollars are getting flushed down the titanic gaping void that is the national budget deficit...

Re:jesus. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364367)

So you see what a bad president he is? Not only is he screwing up the world, he's screwing up /. too!

Re:jesus. (4, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 years ago | (#16364471)

It is because of the way he said it, for one thing.

FTFS: develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries.

He was doing pretty well up to that point, assuming that you ignore the fact that he's spent all of our money performing escalatio on the Iraqi insurgency.

What I read was "I want to jumpstart the manned space program, even though we don't have any money to do so, because it's such a feelgood topic to bring up right before the election. Also, I'd like to make sure we spend a good bit of money on space weaponry, because we just might have to saddle up to dispense some justice should someone we don't like start muscling in on this whole 'outer space' thing we've got going."

Its disingenuous to propose a large increase in manned space (high $$$, high popularity, low science) when the budget deficit is so large. It also runs counter to most of the non-military goals of space exploration to talk about engaging in warfare in orbit. Those of us who have memories longer than a year or two remember his goal to get to Mars, but have yet to see the $2T line item in the budget for such an undertaking. Hey George, Show Me The Money.

You're right (2)

Tony (765) | about 8 years ago | (#16364531)

You are so right. The reason we pick on Bush is because we don't like the way he talks. Some of us don't even like the way he looks. It's not his policies at all, which have been perfect, and reasonable, and have provided for the safety, prosperity, and continued freedom of the citizens of the United States, and the stability of the world in general.

Our bitching about Bush is, in fact, based on the dislike of him doing a better job than Clinton or Nixon. As President, Bush has shown exceptional judgment and wisdom. His policies have done more for peace through strength, stability through war, safety through fear, prosperity through enrichment of the rich, and truth through lies than any other President before.

You are *so* absolutely correct. Thanks for opening my eyes. I've been blinded by facts, logic, and reason for so long, I forgot how to truly *see*.

More pressing issues? (0, Offtopic)

scott666 (1008567) | about 8 years ago | (#16364089)

So North Korea gets nukes and we don't care, but if they try to get nukes in space there'll be hell to pay. This sounds like another diversionary tactic of the Bush administration, like Gay Marriage or how we were going to Go to Mars.

It was true all along... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364113)

Mars, bitches!

Space, the final battlefield (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about 8 years ago | (#16364119)

Great. So now even the exploration of space has been redefined as a national security issue. Cue fat budgets for space lasers, Son of Star Wars and other such nonsense, in case Al-Qaeda acquire a space shuttle from North Korea. (Or something.)

Re:Space, the final battlefield (1)

ScentCone (795499) | about 8 years ago | (#16364429)

So now even the exploration of space has been redefined as a national security issue.

What do you mean "redefined?" It always has been. Did you think that Kennedy's boosting of the program was all about the pure science for the sake of science? That was politics and defense first, scientific frosting on the cake second.

"Exploration" of space may not be a security thing, but use of space sure as hell will continue to be, just as it has been for decades.

Re:Space, the final battlefield (1)

Jartan (219704) | about 8 years ago | (#16364539)

Great. So now even the exploration of space has been redefined as a national security issue. Cue fat budgets for space lasers, Son of Star Wars and other such nonsense, in case Al-Qaeda acquire a space shuttle from North Korea. (Or something.)


It's probably always been a "security" issue in the eyes of many govt offices. We went to the moon in 1969 and yet here we are in 2006 and we're using ancient technology like the space shuttle.

I wouldn't be suprised if the military hasn't been pulling the wool (wool being Nasa in this case) over everyone's eyes for a while now.

Trust Bush (5, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#16364147)

I'm glad Bush proved he can be trusted with our space program. He perfected the Space Shuttle (by grounding it for years, now headed for termination). He put an American on Mars, just like his father promised when in political trouble a decade and a half ago. He's making sure other countries don't take American nuclear expansion as a signal to proliferate their own nukes, like in N Korea, Iran, India.

Yes, by all means trust this sober, reasonable man of science with an expensive program to put nukes in space. After he rebuilt New Orleans around the Space Shuttle fueltank factory, everyone there will gladly tell us that he can do anything he sets his mind to.

Yep, the survival of the species is now at stake.. (2)

lixee (863589) | about 8 years ago | (#16364157)

An excerpt from http://bostonreview.net/BR28.5/chomsky.html [bostonreview.net]
The Space Command released plans to go beyond U.S. "control" of space for military purposes to "ownership," which is to be permanent, in accord with the Security Strategy. Ownership of space is "key to our nation's military effectiveness," permitting "instant engagement anywhere in the world. . . . A viable prompt global strike capability, whether nuclear or non-nuclear, will allow the United States to rapidly strike high-payoff, difficult-to-defeat targets from stand-off ranges and produce the desired effect . . . [and] to provide warfighting commanders the ability to rapidly deny, delay, deceive, disrupt, destroy, exploit and neutralize targets in hours/minutes rather than weeks/days even when U.S. and allied forces have a limited forward presence,"6 thus reducing the need for overseas bases that regularly arouse local antagonism.

I have a plan (2, Funny)

Mayhem178 (920970) | about 8 years ago | (#16364181)

Here's my plan. Let's leave the planet in two groups, split by who can get along with each other. One of us will go and form the 12 Colonies and be prosperous. The other will disappear into legend and create the 13th Colony. Sound good to everyone? I think I'll go with the 12 Colonies group.

And by the way, I've got this great idea for a cybernetic AI construct to make our lives in the Colonies easier.....

SecDef -- great (5, Funny)

dubiousdave (618128) | about 8 years ago | (#16364211)

"The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to..."


Great. I think I can imagine Rummy's plans to improve space exploration. He'll take NASA's crew recommendations and cut them in half, send only enough fuel to get there, but not back, and ditch all the unnecessaries like food and water. It will be a leaner, more mobile space force.

Translation (1)

javilon (99157) | about 8 years ago | (#16364235)

"develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space" means defense.
"and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries" means attack capability.

I personally don't like the "attack" part as it leads to a space arms race and the militarisation of space.

Re:Translation (2, Informative)

xoolon (943215) | about 8 years ago | (#16364565)

All fits in with the Project for the New American Century [wikipedia.org] (PNAC [newamericancentury.org] ), set up and backed by most of the US administration's neo-conservatives.

"The PNAC also proposes to control the new 'international commons' of space and 'cyberspace' and pave the way for the creation of a new military service -- U.S. Space Forces -- with the mission of space control."

Oh brother (2, Interesting)

jav1231 (539129) | about 8 years ago | (#16364289)

Bush could advocate an end to the DMCA, banning DRM, and making OSS manditory in all government entities and people on slashdot would STILL bitch. The only debate this article should be sparking on slashdot is between the "let's do all we can to explore space" crowd and the "we should be spending this money on my favorite agenda" crowd. Shit, people, get a hobby.

And I sat there adrift in my inflatable raft (0, Offtopic)

sdcharle (631718) | about 8 years ago | (#16364309)

In the Pacific, not far from where my plane was shot down, and I was comforted by thoughts of freedom of action in space. no, that's the other George Bush... http://www.fortfreedom.org/b11.htm [fortfreedom.org]

Chinese Laser US Satellites - now this (3, Interesting)

airuck (300354) | about 8 years ago | (#16364315)

What a surprise. A recent leak [defensenews.com] about US satellites being blinded by Chinese lasers and now a more military flavor to the US space program.

Evolution of war (1, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | about 8 years ago | (#16364341)

First - land war for control of territory resulting in nation-states
Second - Sea and Land war resulting in continental/regional trade blocks
Now - Space war resulting in what? Solar System trade blocks? Space nations?

This is just the first step in preparation for fighting the next big war.

But what about the droids??? (1)

krell (896769) | about 8 years ago | (#16364349)

Has a firm "don't ask, don't tell" policy been defined before we send droids into space?

Bush Reveals New Space Police. nt (1)

Dennis_123 (962330) | about 8 years ago | (#16364355)

Bush Reveals New Space Police. nt

Wha happened to the Mars plans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364371)

Both George W. Bush and his dad George Herbert Walker Bush, said we should go to Mars [space.com] .

What's up with that plan? Iraq gotcher tongue?...or maybe were those just political grand standing?

Ulterior Motive . . . (1)

Dausha (546002) | about 8 years ago | (#16364389)

Bush probably has an ulterior motive. He'll put all the terrorists and Democrats into space on a colony ship destined for deep space. Perhaps he'll name the ship "Botany Bay."

This is a war on Terra.

In part a reaction to last month's laser incident. (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | about 8 years ago | (#16364391)

Mostly this sounds like a routine release of non-substantive policy boilerplate, except for this:


The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to "develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries."


Maybe reaction to last month's laser incident with China?

Access to space is like access to international waters -- if anything there is greater need to secure space from territorial claims than international waters. By claiming sovereigny over space above the 100km mark, a nation in effect denies access to space to every other country, since every satellite not in geosynchronous orbit above yourland mass would violate your "territorial space".

What China did was in one sense just an aggressive extension of the usual spy/counter spy stuff; you fly close to my territorial waters with listening equipment, I try to jam the equipment. However it was extremely risky in my opinion. First, if the satellite had been damaged it would be tantamount to an act of war, like sinking a ship in international waters. Secondly, it invites US interference with Chinese space vehicles. If China wants to become a world superpower, it will need spy satellites. If you're playing standoff with another country, with both coutries with their fingers on the nuclear trigger, misunderstandings can get costly. You want to see what the other guy is doing and you want the other guy to see what you are doing.

Reading carefully, this parapgraph suggests that the US is planning to engage in a kind of "tit for tat" crippling of Chinese satellites. This is a bad thing for strategic stability.

"In the grim darkness of the far future.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#16364445)

....there is only war."

I support this move by the president. All we need now is an army of fanatical, genetcally engineered supermen in powered armor with boltguns!!

Oh come on....you just knew someone would post it! ;-D

Rumsfeld? (1)

SQLz (564901) | about 8 years ago | (#16364541)

"The policy calls upon the Secretary of Defense to 'develop capabilities, plans, and options to ensure freedom of action in space, and, if directed, deny such freedom of action to adversaries.'"

"As you know, you go to space with the ship you have. Its not the ship you might want or wish to have at a later time."

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?