Touching The Limits Of Knowledge
Cosmology and our View of the World

Space Exploration and Exploitation
Lead: Michael Cleary, Jeff Chandler, Bill Donoghue

4/24/2000
Summary by Frank Sespico:

• 1967 treaty on principles governing the activities of states in the exploitation and use of outer space:

  1. Space including celestial bodies, is the province of mankind and developed for the benefit of mankind.
  2. Space, including celestial bodies, is the province of mankind and developed for the benefit of mankind
  3. Celestial bodies cannot be appropriated by any nation.
  4. Celestial bodies shall be used only for peaceful purposes; and
  5. International law extends to space and celestial bodies. First, we should clarify what the philosophical view is.

This treaty is impersonal and broad, although feasible, because exploration and questionable instances of exploitation will continue throughout the world. The treaty permits free exploration and exploitation, hopefully intending mutual erudition between nations. This intend to mutually educate often seems disguised. Many scientists with proposed projects and theory's primarily seek tangible reward (i.e. money), aside from the intention of personal recognition and benefits for the scientific spectrum.

In the first principle, it states that space and celestial bodies are the ‘province of mankind'. Do the nations abiding by the treaty comprise the knowledge and resources to assume this authoritative position? Does space and celestial bodies actually intend to benefit mankind? Should we even be disrupting these things? The Aboriginal culture, for example, believes that the earth and its composition should not be exploited, that we should not exploit any being in the universe, everything comprising earth is one, and disruption is not intended. Evidently, there is no short answer to these questions and beliefs.

• Should private companies investigate rather than governments?

Governmental control will lead to political control and governmental conflict. The control of private companies is said to act in a less controversial and less costly manner (with provisions through private funding). In reality, private companies will probably execute the same tactics as the Government would.

Safety issues must be considered. Bringing extraterrestrial objects/beings to earth could be harmful. For example, unknown bacteria and particles from outside Earth could spread, infect, and even mutate.

Exploration to Mars, for example, has been postponed until a suitable facility is constructed to prevent contamination. One must consider the inappropriate use and unintended destruction of facilities and projects of space exploration. It is hard to distinguish wasted costs and harmful effects of proposed projects. Consensus decision-making, determined by a diversified group of experts, is the ultimate road to prospective implementation.

May 4, 2000