An expert believes that probability of war in space is increasing by the day due to the ease of access that countries possess amid technological advancement.
Michael Schmitt, a professor of public international law and a space war expert at the University of Exeter in the U.K., is convinced that real war in space will happen in the immediate future. His statement carries weight especially that some countries are now heavily reliant on space technology when it comes to advancing their military capabilities.
Looming Space War
Schmitt adds that countries are becoming more interested to take conflicts in space because the technology is now highly accessible. For example, a government can just assign a space war soldier that can hack satellites while comfortably sitting by his computer on Earth. This person can conveniently send rogue commands and destroy enemy's satellites without the need for elaborate physical weapons.
Hence, Schmitt thinks that the first space war will be instigated by a satellite attack.
"It is absolutely inevitable that we will see conflict move into space... the reliance upon space is truly extraordinary in contemporary conflict," Schmitt says.
While the destruction of satellites sounds less perilous because it will take place millions of miles away, people can still suffer grave consequences.
The Danger Of Space Debris
Once satellites are blown up in space, it can easily collide with other satellites and subsequently destroy them. If it happens, the Earth will immediately be bombarded with belts of space debris.
The occurrence is scientifically referred to as Kessler Syndrome, which is known to affect all technology on Earth that relies on satellites. Specifically, people on Earth will endure years without cell phone signals, internet, and ruthless weather that can last for days.
The risks of space debris have been a subject of studies and investigations among experts in the sciences. In fact, NASA has been investing in various investigations that can identify the extent of damage that space debris could inflict to their spacecraft. The agency said that space debris is both in the forms of man-made objects as well as particles from comets and meteorites.
What makes space debris all the more dangerous is the lack of international peace law that governs it, says Jan Wörner, director general of the European Space Agency. He, therefore, calls for legal restrictions in space technology that will cover the creation of space debris.
Schmitt says that, at present, the only hope is that participants of the future war in space will still adopt the humanitarian law. This law states that in time of conflict, partakers should opt for methods with the least collateral damage.
The Perils Of Worsening Geopolitics Among The US, China, And Russia
Wörner says that while the race in space capability had been exclusive among the superpower nations some 50 years ago, more entities and organizations now rely on space. Brian Harvey, a space analyst, highlights that Russia and China have conducted tests of their military satellites in the recent years.
The two countries have also been building weapons that can be controlled from Earth and launched in space, according to General John Hyten, head of U.S. Strategic Command. Hyten, who is in charge of overseeing military operations in space, accused the two countries of enhancing their weapon capabilities to challenge the United States.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned about building a Space Force in his speech at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in March. He welcomed the idea after he had realized that space is truly becoming an arena of war.
"Space is a war-fighting domain, just like the land, air, and sea," said Trump.