Issue #4(22) 2019 Specials

Rule of law vital for humanity’s sustainability and survival

Ram Jakhu Institute of Air & Space Law, McGill University, Canada

Today, the modern world relies heavily on space-enabled technologies for day-to-day living and at the same time Earth faces a potential ‘doomsday scenario’ caused solely by human activities. Professor Ram Jakhu believes the solution to this worst-case scenario is to be found both in and from outer space. However, in order to assure that humankind can survive and thrive to exploit the benefits of activities in space, they must be made subject to the rule of law, which ought to be determined by new thinking around a rule-based global space governance system. In this article, based on his keynote speech at the Asgardia Space Science & Investment Congress (ASIC), Prof Jakhu explains that Asgardia the space nation could play a significant role in this process.

The renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking said in 2010 that threats to the existence of the human race, such as war, resource depletion and overpopulation, meant it was at greater risk today than ever and that humankind’s future “must be in space”, if it is to survive.

In a similar vein, the theme of this year’s Herald Design Forum in Seoul, Korea was “Do we need another planet?” In his keynote speech, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon reflected on the emerging concept of a geological epoch called the Anthropocene, defined by the impact of humanity on natural development. “Humankind may be facing an imminent decision about the future of this blue marble,” he said. “Global warming, exhaustion of natural resources and worldwide pollution may be spelling out an inconvenient truth necessitating interstellar travel for solutions.”

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky’s oft quoted observation, “The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever” is inspirational and motivational to all with a desire to explore and expand into outer space, but hard and convincing evidence is now emerging that increases the urgency for humankind to leave the ‘cradle’.

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