Space Diplomacy For Our Time And The Future

This holistic strategy guarantees that when mankind ventures into space, it does so with a profound understanding that encompasses a wide range of perspectives

Space Diplomacy For Our Time And The Future

When it comes to space, we are facing problems that transcend nations. It doesn’t matter who is creating more satellites or creating more debris, we all get it in the neck in the end. Therefore, a single nation cannot give a solution or tell other nations what to do. It is not Nation A telling Nation B instead it is the people of Earth telling themselves what to do next. The solution is a human solution.

Last week I interviewed an International Space Consultant for NASA and SpaceX. I asked her how different nations can move ahead in the challenges of space debris and she started off with two keywords: “International Cooperation” and “Space Diplomacy.”

So what is Space Diplomacy? I remember diplomacy being effective in space when I was reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.

What is Space Diplomacy?

From what I learned, space diplomacy is the use of diplomatic strategies and tactics to negotiate, manage and solve problems that arise in the conduct of space operations. This includes dealing with problems like managing satellite traffic, getting rid of space junk, and making sure that nation-states and other entities can use space peacefully.

Space diplomacy is beyond just conflict resolution and making new alliances. It can also serve to integrate different kinds of knowledge with distinct cultures and countries. This idea is especially important as humanity tries to solve the big, complex problems that come up with space travel and sustainability.

Philosophical and ethical perspectives derived from diverse cultures can contribute to the establishment of standards and principles for space exploration

When it comes to space exploration, no one country has all the answers. Every society and culture has its own view of the world, which is often summed up in their epistemology, religious texts, and ancient wisdom. Through space diplomacy, countries can share this vast amount of knowledge, which could lead to the discovery of new ideas or technologies that have not been studied by mainstream science.

Ideas of Isaac Asimov

The character of Hari Seldon in Asimov's Foundation series illustrates very clearly how important it is to preserve knowledge. Seldon comes up with psychohistory, a method of predicting the future based on historical trends and the behaviours of the large masses. This science is a mix of maths, history, and psychology, showing how blending various disciplines can lead to huge advancements.

Seldon's psychohistory is vital for planning the Foundation, which is both a place for scientists to work together and a place to store human knowledge. The Foundation's job of keeping this information safe makes sure that the seeds for a new, more advanced society will be kept alive even after the Galactic Empire falls. This preservation is critical for the eventual rebirth of galactic society, showing how knowledge from the past can help guide growth in the future.

The Way Forward in Space Diplomacy

In the real world, space diplomacy can help people share and keep information and knowledge in the same way. Just like Pono by Privateer Space is sharing data, sharing knowledge relies on humans. Humans, who are the centre of the universe as we humanists believe. As countries work together on space projects, share data, and talk about space treaties, they also share scientific and cultural insights that could lead to new discoveries or innovations.

For example, Islamic epistemology underlines how the universe is interconnected and how humans should take care of creation. The Hadith which says, “The world is beautiful and verdant, and verily God, be He exalted, has made you His stewards in it, and He sees how you acquit yourselves” (Muslim) stresses how important it is to take care of as well as value the cosmic environment. This way of thinking can lead to policies that put long-term sustainability of space activities at the top of their list of priorities. This change of lens can help make sure that exploring space preserves the environment in space for future generations.

Contrasting this view, Western epistemology sees the universe more like a machine made of dead matter that needs to be used instead of living with it in harmony. This mechanical way of thinking can lead to behaviour and policies that exploit space resources at the top of the list, which could cause problems and practices that can't last.

Instead, religions like Islam, Buddhism and Taoism regard the universe as similar to Mother Earth—a living being that we are responsible for and must pass on to future generations. These beliefs promote a healthy connection with the universe, emphasising that we do not possess it, but rather serve as its caretakers temporarily.

Furthermore, the philosophical and ethical perspectives derived from diverse cultures can contribute to the establishment of standards and principles for space exploration. For example, the Buddhist principles of interdependence could guide sustainable practices in space by highlighting the importance of taking into account the lasting effects of human activities on the universe.

Putting it all together

Space diplomacy fosters a conversation between different belief systems and utilises their distinct perspectives to address not just immediate technological obstacles but also enhance the philosophical, ethical, and cultural aspects of space travel.

This holistic strategy guarantees that when mankind ventures into space, it does so with a profound understanding that encompasses a wide range of perspectives, potentially discovering solutions in ancient wisdom that modern science alone may not conquer.