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Donald Trump wants to militarize outer space

Donald Trump recently stated that he would like to create a branch of the U.S. Military in outer space

Donald Trump wants to militarize outer space
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, there are currently 15 world powers focusing an 82% of their resources in national defense - Photo: NASA/REUTERS
English 14/07/2018 19:03 Berenice González Durand Mexico City Actualizada 19:07
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This is not the first time that a quest for space militarization is discussed. However, modern technology have made the creation of a Star Wars scenario far more feasible.

This interest was actually sparked around sixty years ago when a space race started between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Their original objective was to send a man to the moon, though in reality, they were struggling for technological supremacy and its potential military applications.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, there are currently 15 world powers focusing an 82% of their resources in defense. The United States is at the top of the list, with a military budget of over 600 billion dollars a year. With only a third part of that budget, China is second place worldwide, though their technological progress and lunar exploration have made their competitors nervous.

Over decade ago, China was accused of attempting to interfere with the United States’ main satellites. On January 11, 2007, the Asian power conducted a test with anti-satellite missiles in outer space which caused the destruction of one of their own orbiting space stations; however, this occurred approximately at the same altitude where spy satellites from the United States orbit. The missile test was thus perceived as a threat for the North American country.

Satellites keep the world turning and they might eventually become contemporary war trophies. Powerful artifacts rest in their orbits, providing communications and weather forecasts worldwide, among other things. Radio and laser waves can be used to either temporarily disable or permanently damage a satellite’s components (their sensors, in particular) without anyone knowing who perpetrated the tampering. Many strategies have been developed to render this kind of device useless, which could potentially cause a space war with calculated yet dismal effects on Earth.
 

Throughout the 50s, kinetic bombardment, which is the hypothetical act of attacking a planetary surface with an inert projectile, was the main focus of something called the Thor Project, designed by the United States. Depending on the orbit, this bombing system could have a global reach, without the need to deploy missiles, airplanes, or other vehicles on land. Fearing that this and other types of weapon could potentially destroy the world as we know it, the UN decided to put a ban on the deployment of weapons of mass destruction on orbital trajectories through the Outer Space Treaty in 1967; however, specific details about the use of conventional weapons in outer space was not discussed.

World powers have flirted with the idea of creating a military base in space for decades. U.S. President Donald Trump recently stated that he would like to create a branch of the U.S. Military in outer space, in addition to their ground, sea, and air forces.

The idea for the creation of these special forces came after Trump requested NASA to speed up their space exploration plans aimed towards the colonization of Mars by the year 2033. Furthermore, a space policy directive was signed with the goal of establishing a military base on the Moon before the first manned space mission’s arrival on Mars.

Today, the idea of establishing a base on the Moon is not so far fetched, and world powers such as the United States, China, and the European Union are competing to be the first to do it. However, the stakes are higher than ever before. The Moon is full of valuable natural resources such as ice formations at its poles, which we didn’t know of half a century ago.

Space exploration and militarization will represent a new step in humanity’s technology race, demanding new legislation and international agreements to prevent any future military conflicts.

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