Saturday, May 7, 2016

50 Years Ago: President Johnson Sets UN Space Goals

President Lyndon Johnson stands holding image of Ed White, Jr. (on left) during the first US spacewalk. President Johnson was a great supporter of NASA all through the space program's early history. 

Fifty Years ago, on May 7th, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a speech indicating that he would seek several important goals in a new UN space treaty. The UN treaty would state: "(1) the moon and other celestial bodies should be free for exploration and use by all countries; (2) no country should be permitted a claim of sovereignty; (3) there should be freedom of scientific investigation, and all countries should cooperate in scientific activities relating to celestial bodies; (4) efforts should be made to avoid harmful contamination; (5) astronauts of one country should give any necessary help to astronauts of another country; (6) no country should be permitted to station weapons of mass destruction on a celestial body; and (7) weapon tests and military maneuvers should be forbidden."
While all these points have been carefully followed over the last 50 years, that last point about military tests and maneuvers has only loosely been followed, and in fact the US, China and Russia have tested weapons in space.

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