The Peaceful Use of Outer Space: Protecting Life on Earth

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Abstract

The way we explore and use of outer space is fundamental in terms of the world economy, strategic thinking, terrestrial military strategy, geopolitics, human rights, commercial enterprise, tech innovation and, frankly, the future of humankind. The impact of our use of space and the increasing range of space activities mean that law has an important role in ensuring that such activities are carried out in an appropriate manner. But law is not enough. We need to adjust our mindset about the use of space to recognise its uniqueness and the ‘humanity’ and ‘common interest’ doctrines that underpin it. A claim by some elements of society that space is the new ‘warfighting domain’ contradicts the 6-decade-long understanding that it is a shared area governed by international law, where global interests converge to ensure its exploration and use for the benefit of humanity. The goal of preventing an arms race in outer space (PAROS) is vital and must be continued, yet it still contemplates and may even legitimise increased military uses of space. We need to set our ambitions even higher—a pursuit of a ‘peace race’ in space. Only then can we begin to move towards an even broader aspirational goal of utilising international human rights law to protect humanity for all threats that might emerge from activities taken above us.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalDigital War
Volume2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2023

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