April 18 News Items

Alternatives to a Space Weapons Treaty (Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)
Today, no accepted definition of a space weapon exists. Case in point: Recently, Space.com quoted a senior Pentagon official as saying, "There are no space weapons programs being funded by the U.S. Air Force." This statement was immediately criticized by many within the space arms control community as hypocritical and false. They cited the ongoing development of ground-based missile defense assets as evidence, along with dual-use space programs such as XSS-11 and MiTex and doctrinal statements of the importance of "space dominance."

Some experts consider a space weapon to be an object or device in orbit that is used to strike targets on the ground. Others consider a space weapon to be an object or device that can strike other targets in space. Still others consider a space weapon to be anything that can attack, degrade, or destroy satellites--whether from space, the ground, or air. These diverse definitions have frozen the international arms control debate over space weapons for decades. Click here to view the article. (4/18)

Why We Shouldn't Hide Our Problems From ET (Source: New Scientist)
For nearly 50 years, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has scanned the heavens with radio telescopes for signs of alien technology. At the same time, scientists have painstakingly crafted messages to send in reply. When NASA launched its Voyager missions in 1977, for example, both spacecraft carried audio recordings depicting the diversity of life and culture on Earth (see gallery).

But never have those messages truly represented all of humanity. On 15 May that will change as the SETI Institute launches a project to collect messages from people around the world. Though there are currently no plans to transmit these messages into space, the project aims to foster a global discussion about whether we should send more than symbolic messages to the stars, and if so, what we should say. Click here to view the article. (4/18)

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