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64

The scenario of an asteroid impact destroying life on Earth as we know it was actually a topic which got quite a lot of media attention in the late 90s. Disaster movies like Armageddon or Deep Impact reflect that sentiment. The reason why this hysteria died down in the past years is because politics did actually take actions to assess the threat of ...


59

The administration is taking it seriously, but so far has had trouble getting the funds for it as well as fully convincing the Pentagon that a 6th force, separate from the Air Force, is really needed. The motivating enemy is apparently... In 2007, China blew up a dead weather satellite with a missile, creating a massive debris cloud in orbit, which Pence ...


29

A list of people who are likely to take this idea seriously: A subset of Pentagon brass that will see it as opportunity for better advancement, empire-building (in a bureaucratic sense), and influence. Anytime something like this exists, there are bosses who run the show. People want to be those bosses. A subset of aerospace and other contractors who are ...


17

This is not from me but from someone purportedly in the Air Force familiar with space related affairs: I'm in the part of the Air Force that will become the Space Force. [...] The rationale behind the Space Force/Corps is that the Air Force is mismanaging it in favor of air things. All the generals and upper leadership of the Air Force come from an air ...


14

Space, including the Moon and Mars, is international territory. No country can lay claim to it, nor can any country use it to wage warfare. Countries also cannot place WMDs in space, though conventional weapons are allowed. All countries capable of reaching these bodies have signed and ratified the treaty. I wouldn't say people are in a hurry to "conquer" ...


12

Satellites, the (discontinued) shuttle project and ISS are governed by space law, national airspace laws don't necessarily apply, or are supplemented / amended by international / billateral agreements, on a case by case basis. That said, the vertical extent of national airspace is a matter of debate. A logical upper limit is the point where outer space ...


12

The Chelyabinsk meteor indeed came as a surprise. To quote the linked Wikipedia article: The object was undetected before its atmospheric entry, in part because its radiant was close to the Sun. The Chelyabinsk meteor was approximately 20 m in diameter. Back in 1908, a similar but more devastating event was recorded in Siberia. It flattened 2,000 ...


11

Unlikely The US Space Force was established by Section 1601 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act Establishment.--With the advice and assistance of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the President, through the Secretary of Defense, shall establish under the United States Strategic Command a subordinate unified command to be known as the ...


8

It's a bit of both. US Congress controls the purse strings. US government executes the budget. At one extreme, when Congress is on the same side as the White House, the latter sometimes sends a budget that, bar a few cosmetic amendments, gets voted more or less as is. At the other extreme, when both houses in Congress are on opposite side of the White ...


7

Currently it is not supposed to be done in space. There's a UN Resolution titled Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space which was adopted unanimously in 1962 which includes this statement: Outer space and celestial bodies are not subject to national appropriation by claim of ...


7

The question has false premises, because the New York Times article is misleading. The Antarctic Treaty itself does not expire. You can read the text (PDF) of the treaty; there is no provision for expiration. What there is is a provision saying that thirty years after the treaty enters into force, any consultative party (i.e. any party that does serious ...


7

My guess - and I think any "answer" can be only that - is that it's simply not political. If you start a political movement against (just to pick something completely at random :-)) global warming, you have a handy set of humans - oil companies, SUV drivers, commuters, &c - that you can paint as evil villainous capitalists and protest against. It's ...


7

If you watch enough news, there are a decent amount of reports of objects coming within close range of the planet (I worked in an office where Fox News was on, and they would have a story about such events every couple of months or so). With that said, they were always back end of the hour stories and would always describe the passing as near miss in teases,...


6

Unlike other forms of "mass extinction prevention", asteroid defense does not require large changes to human behavior. There are many political movements that would like greater control of human behavior, for all sorts of reasons. A concern over mass extinctions caused by human behavior can be used as justification for controlling human behavior in all ...


6

I believe that the answer to your question will require some very careful estimates of public statements vs. actual policy. Countries do not always do as they say, and what they say changes with what they can do. Both the United States and Russia rely on spaceborne early warning to warn against missile attack. This is part of their military infrastructure, ...


6

For Federal elections, all of them. Astronauts are covered under the same provisions as other US citizens residing outside the US. The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), amended by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE), requires that all states and territories allow US Citizens residing outside the US to register ...


6

What would be the point of simply landing a man (or woman - let's not be sexist :-)) on Mars? For a lot of people, the point of the Moon landing (beyond the obvious Space Race) was that it would be the starting point for manned bases and eventual colonization, which of course didn't actually happen. Without that ongoing colonization, it was little more ...


6

A Rasmussen telephone survey reveals that 33% of Americans support Space Force, 40% oppose, and 27% are not sure. http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/june_2018/33_support_creating_a_national_space_force Support for Space Force is lower than Donald Trump's general approval rating, which tends to be around 41%. This is a ...


6

Space travel isn't cheap, but the costs are coming down. Basic access to space costs in the thousands, not millions of dollars. Many nations have the ability to place significant payloads in orbit. There are enemies in space. Many nations are investigating anti-satellite technology (based on EMP). China and Russia and the USA are all developing weapons that ...


6

The Republican Party has historically been in favor of space exploration ever since the Space Race began The Space Race is generally agreed to have begun in 1955, when both the US and the Soviet Union announced that they were going to launch artificial satellites during the International Geophysical Year (1957-58). With the Soviets successfully launching ...


5

Yes, Pence said the words, but attributes them to President Trump who has a bit more flair for drama than the Vice President (in my opinion). You can find a full transcript on whitehouse.gov. "SLS" below in context refers to Space Launch System. The paragraph occurs about midway through the speech. But to accomplish this, we must redouble our efforts here ...


5

No. The preamble sets out the purposes of the Constitution, but it doesn't lay out obligations. Could we ban all dissent on the grounds that the dissent doesn't make for "a more perfect union"? Could we present pretty much any government program as constitutionally obligated because it "promotes the general welfare"? No, the goals in the preamble are ...


5

If our aim is to prepare for war, then we need to focus more on space warfare than we currently are. Whether or not we ultimately need a "Space Force," or whether we simply need to ensure that our Air Force is focused enough on space, is up for debate. But the idea is taken somewhat seriously, yes. Why Would We Need a U.S. Space Force, Anyway? We currently ...


4

The US Space Force (USSF) is the successor to Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). Because Air Force Space Command was redesignated as Space Force, any projects that were AFSPC are now USSF. It's true that, as I'm writing this, very few people are actually members of the USSF (it might actually be a single person: the Chief of Space Operations). However, there ...


4

From the text of the treaty Article XVI Any State Party to the Treaty may give notice of its withdrawal from the Treaty one year after its entry into force by written notification to the Depositary Governments. Such withdrawal shall take effect one year from the date of receipt of this notification. So any nation can withdraw at any time. ...


4

What's the reason behind this? Is it the lack of a second superpower to compete against? Is it the much higher cost of landing a man on Mars? Is it that the timeframe of such a mission goes beyond the 8 years of a single presidency? Yes, all of the above. And more. Another issue is that we didn't gain much from going to the Moon. It took a ten year ...


4

Trump made a grand show of pledging the US landing people back on the moon in 2024. Trump Hails Mars As NASA's Next Target, Says the Moon's 'Not So Exciting' Trump attacks Nasa and claims the moon is 'a part' of Mars For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon - We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on ...


3

Much of the space race was a proxy for actual war. The Soviet Union lost after spending much of its fortune on the space contest. The down card of Star Wars was the final bluff in the contest. Once the military aspect was satisfied there was little official interest in continuing the scientific cover story. Besides, our government has plenty of other ...


2

The closest thing might be The Heaven's Gate Cult in the late 90's. Their political and cult movement was about the comet Hale Bopp. Their website is, amazingly, still up now at: http://heavensgate.com/. They did not focus on an impact; but they did consider a comet so important that they should die for it.


2

The mandate was contained within the memorandum issued by President Trump to the Secretary of Defense I assign to United States Space Command: (1) all the general responsibilities of a Unified Combatant Command; (2) the space‑related responsibilities previously assigned to the Commander, United States Strategic Command; and (3) the responsibilities of ...


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