It was on this day 45 years ago the U.S., U.K. and U.S.S.R. signed a peace treaty that was truly out of this world.
On Jan. 27, 1967, these global powers signed the Outer Space Treaty, which banned deployment of nuclear weapons in space and limited exploration of moons and other planets to peaceful purposes. The treaty also prohibited countries from claiming celestial bodies as their own.
As a species, there are few things nobler than humanity’s expansion into the cosmos — both in imagination and actually. The fact people strive for the stars might have some ‘practical’ purposes, but its true value is in inspiring the human spirit and, hopefully, uniting the world in common purpose.
When the most powerful countries in the world agreed — at the height of the Cold War — to keep space peaceful, it was in many ways a declaration: As different as seemingly opposing nations and ideologies might be, at the core is a shared sense of brotherhood/sisterhood.
Discovery beyond the Earth’s protective shield isn’t about Communism versus Capitalism, or any other such vulgar political notions. It’s about the quiet whisper of hope that speaks universally to the human heart.
Four and a half decades after the Outer Space Treaty came into effect, the Cold War is long since over and advancements beyond our planet’s atmosphere are still in their very early stages. However, there has been a tradition of collaboration between countries when it comes to space exploration.
Hopefully, that tradition continues and is embraced to a greater extent in other realms of human interest and concern.
World hunger, poverty, global climate change, rights and liberties — these too are matters requiring the entire community of nations to unite in common purpose. After all, in many ways we are all one species of sentience with a shared spirit both in hope and suffering.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.