News & Opinion | June 30, 2018 5:00 am

New Arms Space Race Would Have Consequences No One Understands

Trump's call for a militarized "Space Force" could end up threatening much of modern life.

(Getty Images)
Getty Images

America’s satellites have been safely circling Earth for decades, despite the politics taking place on the ground. Since 1985, there has been an informal global prohibition on the testing of anti-satellite weapons, and because of that, satellites have become vital to the American military apparatus and the global economy. By 2007, both ships at sea and warplanes in the air had become reliant on instant satellite communications with ground stations thousands of miles away for navigation. Governments came to rely on weather satellites and intelligence analysts depend upon high-resolution imagery to anticipate and track adversaries around the world. And GPS is used by civilians for an unending number of things in their daily lives. But soon, all of that might be threatened.

A secretive, pitched arms race has opened up between the U.S., Russia and China, and to a lesser extent, North Korea, explains Wired. After decades of peace in space, military officials have begun referring to Earth’s orbit as a new “war fighting domain” and just last week President Trump ordered the creation of a sixth military branch: the Space Force. The stakes of fighting a war in space are incredibly high, and not just for America’s strategic standing, but for our species. Wired writes that a Russo-Sino-American space war could result in a “crippled global economy, inoperable infrastructure, and a planet shrouded by the orbiting fragments of pulverized satellites—which, by the way, could hinder us all on Earth until we figured out a way of cleaning them up.”