Diplomacy's next frontier – space
January 17th, 2012
08:11 PM ET

Diplomacy's next frontier – space

By Jamie Crawford

With fears of a catastrophic galactic collision mounting, the United States will join a transnational consortium aimed at making outer space a more navigable enterprise.

"Unless the international community addresses these challenges, the environment around our planet will become increasingly hazardous to human spaceflight and satellite systems, which would create damaging consequences for all of us," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a written statement Tuesday.

The United States will join the European Union and other nations to develop an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. When implemented, the code would establish an international framework for the responsible use of space.

With the number of satellites in space that keep everything from global commerce and daily communications moving to weather forecasting and global navigation, the danger of a collision in space has escalated over the past decade.

In her statement, Clinton said the long-term sustainability of space was now at "serious risk from space debris and irresponsible actors." China is likely one of those actors. Concerns over safety in space were raised in 2007 after China destroyed a weather satellite that had become disabled. The anti-satellite test created a huge cloud of orbital debris that some feared could collide with the International Space Station.

Pentagon Press Secretary George Little released a statement later in the day saying the Defense Department supported the concept of an international code of conduct for outer space activities. Little said the code could "enhance U.S. national security by encouraging responsible space behavior by reducing the risk of mishaps, misperceptions, and mistrust."

The use of space by the United States is not without its controversies either.  Just last week, an argument erupted between space bloggers about the purpose of a satellite that some said was meant for spying on China.

Any U.S. involvement in a space code of conduct would not come at the expense of national security-related activities in space, or abilities to protect the United States and its allies, Clinton said.

The United States is "committed to working together to reverse the troubling trends that are damaging our space environment and to preserve the limitless benefits and promise of space for future generations," Clinton said.

soundoff (33 Responses)
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  7. dudley0415

    What, 6 people live there and we're going to write a constitution for them? It'll take more time for the UN to agree on one than for the entire completion of space exploration. what we really need is a space vacuum that works, not space laws to argue over – that will be broken, like every other law that ever existed.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:40 am | Reply
  8. Mike

    At least we can all agree that Pluto is a wonderful planet.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:54 am | Reply
    • dudley0415

      We cannot even agree that Pluto IS a planet.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:37 am | Reply
  9. 4commonsensenow

    Well, If you can't get along on Earth, how ya gonna get along in space?Opening cans of worms everywhere. Multi tasking is inefficient despite any argument. Slow down woman.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:18 am | Reply
  10. that guy

    It sounds like "free thinker" is unable to think freely... Or think at all for that matter.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:01 am | Reply
  11. ma & pa

    @another freethinker...we are glad you brought up the flat world and sun revolving around us nonsense. The dominant church and it's powermad greedy hierarchy did that to represent itself as the be all and end all of all knowledge to keep it's congregations in line. THE CHURCH IS NOT GOD. Churches provide or force a structure of behavior, running the scale from pure to profane evil, within which people can worship God or be dominated and be led astray. Please consider that God made us in his likeness to live peacefully and thrive on this lifesustaining planet. All the lies and powergrabbing, in any form, come from His archenemy to ruin all He has made. One of us, when she was a little child, said this, and was battered for such prosthetalizing. To slander this God praising child the evil boys said she was prostituting, and they knew what that meant. Like the world is flat it was another lie to squelch a pure perspective and maintain the stats quo. We would not ask you to consider carefully who to blame for the awfulness that has harmed Gods world. But may we suggest God loves anyone who sincerely seeks truth, churches included.

    January 18, 2012 at 4:53 am | Reply
  12. another freethinker

    Funny according to your god a few hundred years ago the world was flat and the sun rotated around us and if I'm correct if anyone said differently your god had them hanged tortured maimed or killed if I'm correct that's called ( putting the fear of god in yah ) good thing space is bigger than god.

    January 18, 2012 at 2:57 am | Reply
    • dudley0415

      ...and how did this become an atheist rant?

      "I heard that army ants can carry 10 times their own weight in their jaws."
      (screaming) "So you say God made them? What a crock! There is no God!!!!!"

      Sounds like somebody has other issues.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply
  13. booblar

    My dong...

    January 18, 2012 at 2:41 am | Reply
  14. superman

    fake and gay

    January 18, 2012 at 2:23 am | Reply
  15. RCDC

    Space exploration is more gradior than war. Space is vast and plentiful for everybody. War is not needed in space. Its what God have given us to explore.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:16 am | Reply
  16. bucko

    We have grandiose ideas about commnicating with and meeting w advanced civilzations. What a joke! We can't even get along with our fellow earthligs! Can u imagine if we met some advanced creatures that say looked like a preying mantis?!?

    January 18, 2012 at 1:07 am | Reply
    • john

      They would go all ET on them and disect them .

      January 19, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Reply
  17. Don Canard

    given the China CCP's habitual use of 50-centers to pose as non-Chinese espousing positions that happen coincidentally to align with CCP policy, reports of "arguments among space bloggers about a satellite some claim was meant to spy on China" are fairly uninteresting. When China stops behaving like an injured baby and cleans up its own house it will be more credible in the international community.

    January 18, 2012 at 1:05 am | Reply
  18. salman

    So, does this mean I can buy some land on the moon from NASA anytime soon? Land speculation in Texas isn't profiting enough. Time to hit the Moon.

    January 18, 2012 at 12:23 am | Reply
  19. choco monsters

    In before China claims that the Ming/whatever dynasty had claimed space in 1000BC

    January 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  20. Hahahahahahahahahaha

    Watch out for those POS Chink satellites!!!! Hahahahahahahahaha.

    January 17, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • Andy

      As opposed to the POS Yank satellites?

      January 18, 2012 at 12:13 am | Reply
    • RS

      Our "yank" satellites are very reliable, actually. I can think of a few recent Russian/Chinese satellites that have failed, though. Do we just have superior engineers?

      January 18, 2012 at 12:29 am | Reply
    • Evelyn

      Buddy, our government keeps the most vcnaaded of our weapons secret. The United States is light years ahead of China and the rest of the world. They may flex a little muscle, but even the stuff we admit to having is light-years ahead of their stuff. What do you thing Unidentified Flying Objects are? They are U.S. craft, plain and simple. Our country has nothing to fear from China, as long as the Clinton's or other radical lefties are kept out of power. Hopefully, we will get a real third-party president in the near future as both most republicans and most democrats are interested in only personal gain. The only reason China has what it has is because of the Clinton's paying for so many Chinese nationalists to come over here and study (conduct espionage).

      March 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
  21. JC

    Unless we develop a warp drive that would bend the distance between 2 spots. You should watch "How the Universe works"

    January 17, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Reply


    January 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • john

      Yeah .. but spell checkers are free .... get one !

      January 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply

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