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ETHICS, ROCKETS & SPACEFLIGHT UCT Summer School 2015 Keith Gottschalk Political Studies (rtd.) University of the Western Cape Fellow, British Interplanetary.

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Presentation on theme: "ETHICS, ROCKETS & SPACEFLIGHT UCT Summer School 2015 Keith Gottschalk Political Studies (rtd.) University of the Western Cape Fellow, British Interplanetary."— Presentation transcript:

1 ETHICS, ROCKETS & SPACEFLIGHT UCT Summer School 2015 Keith Gottschalk Political Studies (rtd.) University of the Western Cape Fellow, British Interplanetary Society

2 970 Feng Jishen projection of power & wealth: – firework for fun – weapon for war 1300s: Venturi nozzles Mobile multiple missile launchers 2-stage ship-to-ship missiles 1792, 1799 Haidar Ali & Tippu Sahib Seringapatam 1.5kms range PREHISTORY: Rocketry before the Space Age

3 PREHISTORY: Rocketry before the Space Age Congreve rockets; 1806 2.7 kms range US national anthem “by the rockets’ red glare” toughest problem - Guidance after 1860s rifled gun barrels more accurate CIVILIANS, SPACEFLIGHT, & ROCKETS: Jules Verne (1828-1905) popularizes spaceflight Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) Robert Goddard (1882-1945)

4 ROCKETS & ETHICS: 1932 – 1990 The role of engineers in police states? The Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977) debate Sergei Korolev (1907 – 1966) Qian Xuesen (1911- 2009) ETHICAL ISSUE 1: Making the world’s biggest rockets for WW2 & atomic war, gambling that they would not be used for bombardment, but become available for spaceflight; Complicity with totalitarian police states by making bombardment weapons of mass destruction.

5 ROCKETS & ETHICS: 1932 – 1990 THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED: Four spaceflight enthusiasts who suffered huge career sacrifices, or had to abandon the project that was their life’s work, due to ethnical choices they made - Rudolf Nebel 1894 – 1978 Willy Ley 1906 – 1969 Frank Joseph Malina 1912 – 1981 Raghavan Gopalaswami 1936- Only later did rocket engineers get the choice of working for a civilian employer

6 ROCKETS & ETHICS: 1932 – 1990 1958: NASA or USAF, USAFRL, NRO (1961), DARPA 1962: INCOSPAR (1969-ISRO) or DRDO 1962: ELDO (1975-ESA) or military 1970s: liquid-propellant rockets, especially cryogenic propellant rockets, militarily obsolete COLD WAR - STRINGENT RESTRICTIONS ON PROLIFERATION OF DUAL-USE TECHNOLOGY: USA: International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) 1976 Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) 1987 South Africa Space Affairs Act 84 of 1993

7 ETHICAL ISSUE 2: DANGERS TO ASTRONAUTS & PASSENGERS pre-1971 Microgravity “space weather” - Radiation “space situational awareness” - space debris SHORT STAYS IN SPACE - – Before 1971, longest stay in space: fortnight – Space adaption syndrome – Orthostatic hypertension – Sleep disorders

8 ETHICAL ISSUE 2: DANGERS TO ASTRONAUTS & PASSENGERS 1971 - LONG TERM STAY IN SPACE: Salyut, Mir, ISS Valeri Polyakov endurance record 437 days (1994-95) Sergei Krikalev has spent cumulatively 803 days – Loss of bone density – Loss of muscle mass – Decreased immune system functioning while e.g. salmonella poisoning more virulent – Deterioration of eyesight; sometimes irreversable – Endothelial cells become dysfunctional – Enhanced risk of mutations & cancers

9 ETHICAL ISSUE 3: pollution Outer Space Treaty 1967 Article IX: “shall pursue studies of outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, and conduct exploration of them so as to avoid their harmful contamination and also adverse changes in the environment of the Earth resulting from the introduction of extra-terrestrial matter and, where necessary, shall adopt appropriate measures for this purpose” “Forward Contamination” “Backward Contamination” NASA Office of Planetary Protection

10 Forward Contamination Measles & smallpox – exterminate 95% of natives in 1600s New England; 1700s Western Cape; 1800s Pacific isles Common cold – 1900s exterminates Tasmanian aborigines (inspired HG Wells’ War of the Worlds) If contaminate eg Mars, would never know if due to panspermia or contamination Earth life could be invasive species of bacteria or archaea to other planets or moons

11 Backward Contamination Alien vegetation invasive in Cape floristic region When we emigrate to other “shirtsleeve” planets - with no resistance to their own viruses, bacteria, fungi? Or have to build O’Neill orbiting cities? meet extra-terrestrial life: must be treated as bio- hazard level 4 – as deadly to us as Congo-Crimean, Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis Must wear bio-hazard suits

12 Ethical issue 4: Meeting extra-terrestrial intelligent life Roswell & Area 51 for half a century UFO & alien abduction cults – tens of thousands of Americans allege that they have already met ET intelligent life – as kidnappers & torturers versus Fermi paradox: where are they? Centuries of debate by philosophers & theologians but never involve International Relations or other political scientists!

13 Declaration of Principles for Activities following the Detection of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence IAA – International Academy of Astronautics IISP – International Institute of Space Law IAU – International Astronomical Union URSI – International Union of Radio Science UN COSPAR – Committee on Space Research Adopted between 1989 – 1992 but only by NGOs; no standing in international law; but norm-making & setting standards

14 Declaration of Principles for Activities following the Detection of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Discoverer must first verify claim Communicate to other signatories of Declaration Communicate to Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams & UN Secretary-General; if detected by EM waves also inform International Telecommunications Union Media conference Publish all data Do not respond to signal - solution to Fermi paradox ? IAA & IAU to continually review protocol

15 But the horse bolted before the stable door was closed Voyagers 1 & 2 launched 1977 with gramophone record & needle carrying data about Earth & human beings …. If SKA after completion can detect radar on a planet or moon up to 50 light years away, any ET civilization who has constructed a 100 SKA can detect our VHF transmissions, starting in 1950s, from further away still ….

16 Declaration of Principles for Activities following the Detection of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence SKA, after completed, will be able to detect airport radars on planets & moons up to 50 light years away Reply involves round-trip delay of one century Exchange of software & intellectual property? Stimulation to budgets for space travel British Interplanetary Society: projects for research, publication & debate on interstellar travel by “world ships” – fleet of trillion (10 12 ) tonne spaceships for inter-generational journeys

17 Declaration of Principles for Activities following the Detection of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Hollywood mostly sterotypes ETs as imperialist invaders conquering Earth with star wars weapons but what if Neill Blomkamp is closer to the mark? What if 1.8m ET aliens arrive as refugees, suffering from malnutrition, & can only eat cat food? & cannot return home because they are refugees? Will all have to be issued with biohazard suits; Struggle to develop vaccines


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