The next theatre of conflict is likely to be in Earth’s orbit – and may have dire consequences for us all
When you hear the phrase “space war”, it is easy to conjure images that could have come from a Star Wars movie: dogfights in space, motherships blasting into warp speed, planet-killing lasers and astronauts with ray guns. And just as easy to then dismiss the whole thing as nonsense. It’s why last month’s call by President Trump for an American “space force”, which he helpfully explained was similar to the air force but for err… space, was met with a tired eye-roll from most. But there is truth behind his words. While the Star Wars-esque scenario for what a space war would look like is indeed far-fetched, there is one thing all the experts agree on.
“It is absolutely inevitable that we will see conflict move into space,” says Michael Schmitt, professor of public international law and a space war expert at University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.