Outer Space Development, International Relations and Space Law: A Method for Elucidating Seeds
Author: Dr. Edythe E. Weeks, Esq.
Date Of Publication: Jul 2012
It is the eve of outer space development, but few people are aware of this. In the absence of awareness, people cannot prepare for the opportunities that will arise; and so the vast wealth likely to flow to Earth from outer space will cause ever-greater inequality and instability in our already unequal and unstable world.
This book is a call to educators to factor equality and diversity into the process of outer space development by creating a widespread movement to teach outer space development studies to all students, especially those who study social and behavioral sciences. In calling for this, the author is also putting out a call to visionary thinkers to increase public awareness that outer space is already in the process of being developed. Her objective is to provide a pedagogical approach aimed at mending the knowledge gap. If we fail in this objective, we are more likely than ever before to witness ever-widening gaps of social and financial inequality.
The first question that will arise as we embark on this process, of course, will be: Why outer space development?
People often ask where the money will come from to develop outer space. Platinum-group metals such as iridium and osmium, and various other valuable untapped natural resources, have been discovered in abundant quantities and are likely to be mined by companies. The discovery of natural resources has sparked development projects in the past. These historical patterns of human behavior are occurring again today, as companies speed up the process of private spaceship development.
A myriad of space laws and policies are already in place to support space commercialization. Recently, the 2010 NASA Authorization Act and various other laws and policies initiated by the US government have placed on the agenda plans to build advanced space transportation systems; to privatize spacecraft development; to create commercial space habitats, space stations, and space settlements; to initiate commercial space mining; to investigate spacecraft trajectory optimization for landing on near-Earth asteroids; to engage in commercial spaceport construction and interstellar-interplanetary-international telecommunications; and to launch space exploration missions to near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, Mars, and Mars’s moons. US initiatives have in the past been mirrored by the international community, and we can expect to see similar patterns arising on a global scale – indeed, as this book will demonstrate, they already are.
The global community is experiencing economic recession, natural disasters, lack of opportunity, employment anxiety, failing K-12 programs, widening inequality gaps, uprisings, revolutions, revolts, unmet educational goals, and a general failure to uplift, inspire, and provide meaningful opportunities for significant portions of our population. People need something that will allow them to focus anew their talents, energies, abilities, and gifts, and use this bleak climate as an opportunity for positive change. Outer space development is emerging as an answer to this state of crisis. The question is: To whom will the benefits accrue?
Many strategic decisions have already been taken regarding space development of which the global general public is unaware. Once legal rights to space resources are granted, only those with the capital to take advantage of new laws and policies will be in a position to profit from the new space industries. Only those who are in a position to “know” about outer space development will be in position to take advantage of the opportunities. It is important to remember that the global general public has for several decades being paying the start-up costs for space exploration research, science, and technology. It’s not too late to factor in equality before an infrastructure of inequality is forever with us as we venture to establish the final frontier.
Dr. Edythe E. Weeks, Esq. serves as Adjunct Faculty at Webster University and Washington University, developing and teaching outer space development themed courses through the international relations lens. Weeks completed a PhD in Politics and International Affairs at Northern Arizona University in 2006. She has presented and published a variety of papers as an active participant in the International Astronautical Federation Congresses in many countries. Professor Weeks was elected into the International Institute of Space Law in 2004.
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