The potential uses for outer space are about as infinite as space itself, so different organizations and nations around the world have been working to put together
a set of space manners a code of conduct that will make space a nice, welcoming place for everyone. It’s hard to get everyone to agree on the specifics of the rules, but the EU’s proposal to get everyone to mind their space Ps and Qs has been gaining support.
The reasons for such a proposal is simple: everyone wants to avoid an arms race in space, and we all need to learn to share, because there’s plenty of space for everyone. We can’t all just go around shooting each other’s satellites down to make room for our own or pointing missiles at each other. To summarize Emily Post:
The EU’s code of conduct has been around since 2008, but it’s been a rough road to get the whole world on board with their ideas. Other countries have argued that it should only apply to peaceful uses of space, and that it might even accelerate the weaponization of space due to clauses about nations’ rights of self-defense.
Developing nations are concerned that stricter guidelines surrounding space-tidiness would add additional costs and hurdles to their eventual space programs that would prevent them from joining the rest of us in the final frontier. However, there are also cooperation mandates included that could lead to more technology sharing and alleviate some of those concerns. Governments of the world, sharing is caring.
Over the years, the EU has worked hard to collaborate with the concerned nations and the UN to better address these concerns and foster a code of conduct that helps space exploration, makes us all feel a little safer, and hopefully keeps people from using their cellphones in future space movie theaters and so forth.
This consultation phase has finally been completed, and all that’s left is for the EU to finalize the code. Then, other countries like the U.S. and our allies and maybe even the UN will be able to endorse it, and we’ll all have a handy reference for how to be polite in space. If the way people behave down here is any indication, it’s sorely needed.
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