Igor Ashurbeyli, Founder in Chief of ROOM: The Space Journal & Chairman of Moscow based International Expert Society on Space Threat Defence, gave a keynote address on the protection of Earth from Military & Non-Military Space Threats.
He pointed out seven types of space related risks as:
- Sun storms and sun flares, known as coronal mass ejections.
- Changes in the Earth’s magnetosphere which result in the destruction of the protective shield that could deflect coronal mass ejections.
- Potentially dangerous asteroids and comets, which could impact Earth and lead to mass destruction of humanity.
- Man-made space debris.
- Climate change resulting from the effects of human technology, industrialisation and solar radiation on Earth’s atmosphere.
- Cosmic radiation – Earth is constantly affected not only by solar radiation but also by cosmic rays from novas, supernovas and pulsars. This also needs to be taken into consideration.
- Biological threats from inside meteors and other small bodies that reach the planet.
He noted that in order to create an effective method of protection from space-based threats, close international cooperation is essential. Any one sided action on behalf of one country, even the richest and most technologically advanced, can be faced with multiple legal, political and strategic barriers.
Ashurbeyli further noted that technology alone – despite all its real and promised benefits for humankind – means absolutely nothing without a higher goal and vision. Further progress in near-Earth space and global space exploration calls for the return of altruistic motives, and the return of inspiration and a sense of human community.
There’s need for an internationally acceptable control system with completely transparent intellectual property rights and open architecture. Funding and the right to use it must belong to all mankind – encompassing advanced nations and developing countries alike, with no restrictions or boundaries.
It will require a new approach to international politics which Ashurbeyli named ‘astropolitics’ – something which would need to encompass not just major aspects of international relationships but legal matters of a much more human scale.