Astro-science and space exploration has developed tremendously over the last few decades. Once where we aimed for landing on the moon we are now dreaming of space colonies. Each passing day we are achieving unprecedented technological growth geared towards leaving the planet we call home, behind.
But doesn’t all human activities come with a cost? Haven’t we gone through exponential scales of development ever since the age of enlightenment? Look at where we are now. Earth is a mess, we are facing imminent threat of climate change and pollution.
The question for the hour is “Are we running the Outerspace?” It used to be a “will we ruin” question. But looking at the recent events we might have already started ruining it.
Our space exploration efforts so far have remained collaborative and cordial. Even the once “immortal enemies”- US and Russia have worked together for creating the international space station. Teams from all over the globe today contribute towards space research.
But as we are slowly waking from the nascent stages of space exploration the so-called “honour system” that exists in space research is showing signs of break down. Allegations surround China and India for producing tons of space debris as their satellites were destroyed for missile testing. Israel lunar lander’s crash landing is reported to have contaminated the moon’s surface with tardigrades.
These might be minor skirmishes of the present. But as more organisations and countries enter the field of space exploration and research there is always chances of basic human tendencies to kick in. Our history is filled with examples of how reckless humans can be.
Spacelink: the ambitious project of Elon musk had launched 60 of their initial satellites into orbit recently. Now, these satellites are facing flak from the astronomy community over fears of radio wave interferences and brightening the sky.
Exploitations in the name of space research have also begun when native Hawaiians were forced out of their lands so that an international team of astronomers could build their telescopes there.
At present we don’t have rules or policies to govern the above-mentioned problems. We don’t have a set do’s and don’ts either. But it is high time we start making these. Boundaries have to be set before it is too late. Astrobiologist Monica Vidaurri in her essay for Quartz puts it right in context by saying “Refusing to make changes today, will only guarantee that we continue to facilitate the ills of humanity in a field that fully has the potential to bring out the very best in us.”