Issue #1(23) 2020 Opinion

An ethical code for living in space

The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law. It was largely based on the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space.
The Outer Space Treaty provides the basic framework on international space law. It was largely based on the Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space.
Zvi Sever University of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Public bodies, academic institutions, private economic entities and even individuals have created forums, associations, activities and websites on the subject of space ethics. However, in all these, Prof Zvi Sever has failed to find a single document that constitutes a comprehensive and binding ethical code for human activity in space. As a result, in this article, he suggests “six assumptions and eight ethical disciplines” for discussion, as a starting point for what might be termed ‘the Ten Commandments for space exploration’.

The vast majority of human settlement on planet Earth has taken place over the last 70,000 years; however, most settlements were created without an ethical code. In some cases, this has resulted in immense damage to natural infrastructure along with disharmony among humans, which has led to lack of cooperation.

Activity in a new domain, such as space, enables humanity to act in a new way, with a moral starting point. I suggest that the ultimate aim should be a concise and accessible document that will provide ethical guidance to anyone interested in operating in space. Alongside some basic assumptions, I will present a brief and clear document, written in a way that resembles the six social statements found in the ‘Ten Commandments’ of the Bible.

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