Outer Space

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The 21st century witnesses the flourishing of space science and technology. More and more countries have come to realize the need for international cooperation to explore outer space, even though considering the complexity, high cost and tremendous risk involved in outer space activities. The human world and outer space are now increasingly inseparable. The use of outer space has formulated a major part of our lives, such using outer space for telecommunications, navigation, meteorology and remote sensing, to name just a few. According to incomplete statistics, there are about 3500 satellites operating in orbit and they are increasing by the years coping to human demands. Human beings are increasingly dependent on outer space in their pursuit of economic, cultural and social development and in scientific research and even security. In the 21st century, outer space will become all the more important to mankind. However, while enjoying the fruits of peaceful uses of outer space and indulging in the dream of a still brighter future, we are also faced with a daunting challenge, and are still living in the shadow of a possible militarization and arms race in outer space. Just like nuclear energy, which can be used either as clean and effective source of energy or in producing weapons of mass destruction, outer space may also be used to the benefit of all countries, or for military confrontation or other hostile purposes, which would threaten the security of mankind. Due to the development in technology, considerable progress has been made in outer space-related weapons research and military technology. It will not take long before proposal or ideas of space weapons and weapon systems be turned into lethal combat instruments in outer space. If such a scenario should become reality it would be impossible for mankind to continue their anticipated exploration, development and utilization of outer space, and other activities in connection with the utilization of...
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