Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2022

Publication Title

The Brown Journal of World Affairs


terrestrial warfare, NASA, ISS, “laboratory of peace”


Outer space, long the province of peaceful competition and international cooperation, is being rapidly militarized. We stand today at a rare inflection point in history that deserves careful thought as humanity moves forward. In short, we face the following choice: we can either protect and build on the special nature of space norms and customs to preserve space as a “laboratory of peace,” or we can militarize space as the new “highest ground” under largely the same rules that govern terrestrial warfare. The sad reality is that our history, being inextricably linked to warfare, predicts that the dream of a peaceful future in space will almost certainly remain just that—a dream. That said, if you point out a problem, you should always propose a solution. I will propose a solution to the threat of warfare in space at the end of this article. But, before we get there, I will take a step back and explain some of the assertions above. Why do I call space a “laboratory of peace?” And why is this special status of outer space in jeopardy?