The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
The political tensions in Europe during the decade following the end of World War II effectively sterilized scientific collaboration or interchange between the Soviet Union and the West. A retrospective judgment is that the Soviets were reluctant to expose the appalling conditions in their country to Western eyes until they could reveal at least the beginnings of a physical and intellectual restoration from the devastation caused by the German invasion. Conversely, only essential Soviet emissaries were allowed to visit the West, because of the fear of the effect of comparisons with Western standards of comfort and culture.
Although the international exchanges have subsequently achieved a degree of normality, they have been marked by continuing difficulties. Whatever may be held in some quarters to the contrary, it remains a sad fact that Soviet scientists are strictly limited in their ability to attend conferences or work for periods outside the Soviet Union. Today, the reasons for this appear to be various. In many cases it seems to be simply the same kind of economic reason which, in the end, inhibits the scientist of any country from complete freedom in this respect. The difference at this moment is that the economic rationing of foreign visits is far more severe for scientists in Russia than for those in the West. Regrettably, in other cases the restriction is fundamentally political. Until the end of the Khrushchev era there were many Soviet scientists of the greatest international distinction who were effectively prisoners in their country. Undoubtedly some were in danger and would have been lost to the Soviet Union if given freedom of travel. In the more important and interesting cases, however, the reason was more subtle, namely that many important Soviet scientists, like their colleagues in the West, served the state as well as their science-with the difference that the Soviets during a decade that was so vital to them would not take the slightest risk of compromise.
In any discussion of these problems of collaboration and interchange between Russia and the West it is essential to realize that the Soviet Academy of Sciences exercises a control over Soviet science and scientists which has no parallel either in the United Kingdom or the United States. It is therefore possible for the state to exercise a degree of political control which, fortunately, has not yet been approached in the Western countries. The Western scientist visiting the Soviet Union is therefore allowed access only to those institutions and individuals which the Academy deems to be expedient. This isolationism was primarily responsible for the traumatic shock delivered to the West in 1957 by the Sputnik.
II. THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPUTNIK
It is rare for a scientific exploit of one country to monopolize the attention of the entire world. The launching of an artificial earth satellite from the Soviet Union-Sputnik One on October 4, 1957-was such an occasion. Further-and of greater significance-the event was the direct cause of a revolution in the U.S. attitude to science.
The extent of the technological and political shock which the Soviets delivered to the West surprised both sides. Clearly the responsible individuals on both sides of the barrier had little concept of the deep effects of the enforced isolationism. For those within the Soviet Union it appeared inconceivable that Soviet science and technology could have risen to such competitive heights within a decade of utter disruption. For those in the United States it also seemed inconceivable. Actually, there was little excuse for the continued American blind disbelief in the powerful advance of Soviet science and technology. The few contacts within the international unions and the assessments which could be made from the news of the development of the Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) provided evidence of the state of Soviet techniques in those matters. Unfortunately, this was an era of the deepest suspicion, when any individual speaking favorably of Soviet scientific or technical strength was regarded as a Communist or, at the best, a fellow traveler. Further, it was not then appreciated that responsible Soviet scientists, although often evading or refusing to give information, were entirely reliable when making specific statements.
Indeed, the preliminaries to the drama of October 1957 were entirely regular. Many years previously the appropriate international unions had scheduled the period of sunspot maximum (1957-1958) as the International Geophysical Year (IGY). In October 1954 the Special Committee, charged by the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) with detailing the arrangements, met in Rome and recommended that, as part of the worldwide programs for the IGY, "thought be given to the launching of small satellite vehicles, to their scientific instrumentation, and to the new problems associated with satellite experiments, such as power supply, telemetry and orientation."
In accordance with this recommendation, President Eisenhower announced on July 29, 1955, that the United States would launch a satellite during the IGY. A similar announcement was made one day later by the Soviet Union. Those who believed this Soviet statement to be an idle dream, following in the wake of the realistic American plans, were presumably unaware that several months earlier (April 15, 1955) the Soviet Academy of Sciences had announced that it had set up a permanent commission of interplanetary communications, whose work included the development of meteorological satellites; or that the chairman of this commission, Professor Sedov, subsequently stated at a meeting in Copenhagen that Russia would launch a satellite within "the next two years" and that it would be heavier than the satellite proposed by the Americans.
The collective isolationist arrogance displayed by the West in the months immediately preceding the launching of Sputnik One appears today as a fantasy and could be dismissed as a regrettable issue of the past if there were not such serious parallels at the present time. During August 1957 the International Scientific Radio Union (URSI) convened at Boulder, Colorado, and the director of the U.S. Vanguard satellite project described the status of that satellite. The message was that Vanguard could not be ready for launching for several months but that, in any case, it was known also that the Soviets were encountering severe difficulties and there was little risk of competition. Yet in June Academician Nesmeyanov, President of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, had said that both the carrier vehicle and instrumentation for the Soviet satellite were ready. In fact, the Academy had even informed the IGY organization that they would launch their satellite "within a few months." The press reports of the successful testing of the Soviet ICBM which appeared during the course of the Boulder meeting should have removed any lingering doubts about the Soviet space potential.
It must be presumed that at least the intelligence sources of the West had access to the level of scientific information available to those of us who were concerned with the scientific problems of the IGY. In that case, the political treatment of the relative status of the American Vanguard project and of the Soviet Sputnik passes comprehension. Our own information in Britain, based purely on assessments of scientific information provided by scientific contacts from East and West, was that the Soviets would be able to launch a satellite before the Americans. In mid-September Radio Moscow said the launching would be "soon," and on October 1 broadcast the frequencies on which the Sputnik would transmit. Three days later Sputnik One, weighing 184 pounds, was launched. The miniature American Vanguard was not only late but, in the end, a total failure. Scorn about the level of Soviet science and technology had perforce to turn instantly to a vast new evaluation of the state of American science.
III. INTERACTION OF THE SOVIET AND AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAMS
Two important lessons were learned by the United States (but unfortunately, not by the European Communities) as a result of this dramatic public display by the Soviets of their technical status. The first was that no modern power could sustain itself as such unless there was a willingness to make appropriate investments throughout the entire spectrum of scientific research, development and technology. The second was that competitiveness might well be in order as a stimulus to individual effort, but could be disastrous if allowed to manifest itself through competitive projects of national concern.
It is fortunate that there were at that time influential members of the U.S. administration who realized that the Soviet achievement was neither a purely scientific trick nor a "lump of old iron" in space, but the beginning of developments which could have vital military, commercial and political consequences. The effective restoration of the balance of power in these widest aspects is the direct result of the immediate action which was taken to place American science on a more appropriate financial basis.
In 1956 the United States spent only 6.5 billion dollars on all forms of research and development. Until that time the rate of growth was about half a billion dollars per annum. Within a year after Sputnik the figure was 10.5 billion dollars-a dramatic increase of one percent in terms of the gross national product. By contrast, in the six years before Sputnik Russia doubled her expenditure on research and development. Even so, the United States could not achieve parity of growth in the vital decade following Sputnik. In the ten years 1956-66 the U.S. research and development (R & D) expenditure trebled whereas that of the Soviets increased five times. In realistic terms, it has been estimated that at this period the Soviet expenditure on R & D was 6.5 billion rubles-an amount equal to that which was being spent on new housing. Taking account of the housing situation in Russia, this is a quite staggering indication of state policy, which could have no conceivable parallel in Western nations. By 1966 the effective purchasing power of the Soviet R & D budget was estimated as equivalent to 22.8 billion dollars, which was about 15 percent greater than that of the United States at that time.[i]
However, even unlimited resources are useless unless there is a consistent and coherent policy. This was the second lesson of the Sputnik. In 1957 the three U.S. military services were each developing ballistic missiles. Furthermore, in July 1955 when the decision was made to launch a satellite for the IGY a basic error was made: namely it was decided to base the carrier rocket on sounding rocket technology and not on the ballistic weapon developments. The contrast with the single-minded Soviet concentration on the ballistic weapon concept could hardly be more sharply defined.
The navy having failed dismally with Vanguard, the army was authorized to make an attempt with its Juno ballistic rocket (developed by Dr. Wernher von Braun). By the time of this successful launch on January 31, 1958, the Eisenhower administration had already begun the reorganization of the U.S. space effort in the form of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Even so, it was the third U.S. military authority- the air force-which organized the first American attempt to send a rocket (unmanned) to the moon, using the rocket of its Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the launching. They were still failing in these attempts even after the Soviets had hit the moon with Lunik 2 (September 13, 1959) and photographed the hidden side with Lunik 3 (October 1959).
As NASA gathered strength, with a budget increasing from $150 million in 1959 to $5,500 million seven years later, a unique international situation evolved: a new form of cold war developed between the Soviet Union and the United States in outer space. The tight security barrier maintained by the Soviets on all aspects of their space program, plus their technical superiority, provided them with a new form of political initiative. The first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961, preceded by ten months that of an American astronaut in February 1962. The soft landing of Luna 9 on February 3, 1966, and the transmission to earth of photographs from the surface of the moon, four months ahead of the U.S. Surveyor (May 30, 1966), were indicative of a narrowing technical gap as NASA surmounted formidable technical problems with an efficiency and speed which could never have been realized except in such an international competitive arena.
The landing of men on the moon and their safe return to earth became a prestigious goal. That it was an international race with prodigious stakes has at various times been denied by both sides. That it was so on the American side is implicit in the "new ocean" speech of President Kennedy, with which he initiated the Apollo concept in 1961. Some historians may have the good fortune to uncover official Soviet documents which may reveal the extent to which the incredible and almost miraculous success of Apollo caused the Soviets to change their space program.
A personal assessment is that the break-even point came toward the end of 1968. In September 1968 the Soviets succeeded in sending an instrumented Zond probe on a circumlunar journey. This vehicle contained a transponded voice communication system and was subsequently recovered after splashdown in the Indian Ocean. Two months later another circumlunar probe (Zond 6) with voice transmission was recovered after touchdown in the Soviet Union. The persistent rumors then emanating from Moscow that the Soviets were about to repeat this exploit with a manned vehicle seemed well founded. The exploit never materialized, and at the approach of Christmas 1968, the three American astronauts made their historic circumlunar orbital flight to the moon. In the event, the American program continued its triumphant progress to the landing of Armstrong and Aldrin on the lunar surface on July 20, 1969.
Within a decade the immense resources of America had been harnessed to bring to success this fantastic project, requiring revolutionary scientific and technical concepts and developments in organization and logistics of entirely new dimensions. The Soviets did not expect the project to succeed. To the end they hoped for political gain and the discomfiture of the United States. When Apollo 11 was already on its way to the moon the Russians announced that Luna 15 had been launched from the Soviet Union on July 13. It was injected into lunar orbit on July 17, two days before Apollo. Only an hour before the lift-off of Armstrong and Aldrin, Luna 15 crashed on the lunar surface in a neighboring lunar mare. Luna 15 was meaningless except in the context of an attempt to recover lunar samples automatically. That this was indeed the intention was confirmed by the success of the identical Luna 16 a year later which succeeded in soft landing and returning automatically to earth with samples of the lunar surface. A minor problem with a rocket motor had caused the failure of Luna 15. With the attention of perhaps a third of the world's population concentrated on the moon in July 1969, it needs little imagination to appreciate the effect on world opinion had this little technical difficulty affected Apollo 11 instead of Luna 15.
IV. THE FUTILITY OF COMPETITION
The international scientific organizations developed within the framework of the ICSU have provided excellent means for the free exchange of scientific information, discussion of future plans and for the initiation of action to provide safeguards for the prosecution of scientific work. The organization of the IGY provided the scientific framework within which the first earth satellites were developed and launched in 1957-58. Instantly it became clear that the scientific importance of this activity was so great that it could not be contained within the scope of the International Scientific Radio Union, the parent body for the IGY, and that there were important overlaps with other unions, for example, astronomy and geophysics. In 1958, ICSU established the new Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). The early meetings of this body soon revealed that the Soviet delegates were either uninformed of Soviet plans or were under instructions to limit their comments. Subsequently COSPAR became an important annual assembly for the discussion of scientific results, to which the Soviet delegates contributed freely. However, at no period have the COSPAR meetings provided the forum for the uninhibited review of progress and prospects typical of the other scientific unions.
When President Eisenhower created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration he did so to make the civil space activities of the United States coherent and to separate the civil and military interests. Therefore, NASA has throughout its existence maintained an influential international relations and publicity organization which has been able to distribute freely complete details about the present status and future plans for the U.S. civil space effort. The Soviets, on the other hand, have maintained a remarkable security screen around their facilities; the assessment of their future intentions and potential has been largely an exercise in guesswork. This is the inevitable result of the integration of the Soviet military and civil space programs, which in itself provided the foundations for the early success of the Soviets in space. Experienced observers have concluded that the space program is militarily dominated. A more generous conclusion might well be that the rockets and launching arrangements are entirely controlled by the military, with the actual military and civil interests in the payloads more evenly divided. Of the 470 satellites launched in the Cosmos series to the end of 1971 it would appear to be a fair judgment that the military and civil research interests have been evenly balanced.
The failure to coöperate in any space activities of real magnitude has occurred in spite of continuous attempts at all levels by the United States- through COSPAR, directly by NASA, through the United Nations Organization and at the presidential level. When President Kennedy brought up the question of coöperative space efforts at the Vienna meeting with Khrushchev in June 1962, he received the reply that coöperation was impossible because the Soviet Union preferred to maintain the veil of secrecy around Soviet rocketry.[ii] An account of the detailed efforts made by the United States at collaboration to 1970, and of the limited progress made on such items as meteorological and magnetic mapping, has been given by J. G. Whelan.[iii]
The result, to this moment, is that the major space developments of the Soviet Union and the United States have proceeded almost wholly independently and, even if not competitive in the strict sense, with political rivalry.
A dispassionate observer must surely view with dismay the scientific and technical conduct of man in the lunar investigations. Two civilized groups, a few thousand miles apart on earth, at great expense and with a huge display of human ingenuity, have, by working entirely independently, thrown at the moon a succession of rockets which have crashed landed, soft landed and orbited, duplicating one another in time and content. Eventually both groups succeeded in recovering samples of the lunar surface on earth, one by the intervention of man and the other automatically. As a final irony, the dispassionate observer notes that the national group successful in the great human adventure cancels a large slice of the remaining program with enormous scientific problems revealed but unsolved. This tremendous feat of human exploration and the scientific investigation of the moon were separate adventures properly to be undertaken in the name of mankind and not by national groups in rivalry for political ends. The confusion of motives has deepened the problems for the future.
V. FUTURE PROSPECTS FOR COLLABORATION
The euphoria introduced by the successful culmination of the Apollo program in 1969 induced optimistic thoughts about the next decade in space. The way seemed open for the establishment of lunar observatories for the further study not only of the moon but of the remote regions of the universe, with telescopes freed from earthbound restrictions which limit observations to a narrow and partially obscured region of the spectrum. Manned missions to the planet Mars by 1980-1985 became a realistic assessment. The dangers of disagreement on the organization of lunar observatories, and the need for regulations on the allowable limit of contamination of the planets by earthbound organisms increased the need for a supranational authority in control of these extra-terrestrial projects. The United States had at last achieved a decisively superior position in the lunar explorations. The world looked to the American scientists and politicians for the joint initiatives of the next great scientific enterprises in space and the international gestures for their control.
No one can say that today the Americans have neglected their opportunities on this second issue. The preparatory exchange of visits between NASA and Soviet space scientists led to the concept of a joint manned space flight with a docking between U.S. and Soviet spacecraft. The final agreement for a space link-up in 1975, made between Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kosygin during the President's visit to Moscow in the spring of 1972, is a political movement of cardinal importance for future space activities.
The difficulties of more total collaboration necessary for a truly international project to the moon or the planets remain profound. Indeed, it is hard to see how this fuller collaboration can be achieved as long as space is regarded as a medium for militaristic activities by both nations, and particularly unless the Soviets dissociate their civil and military space activities. Still, some agreement has been reached which appeared impossible of attainment during the competitive phase of the lunar attempts.
This spirit of hope engendered by the Nixon-Kosygin agreement has unfortunately not been paralleled by similar successes among the European nations, or between Europe and the United States. Indeed, the European space scene is in almost complete disarray, and for this successive British governments since 1957 must bear a large share of blame. When the Soviets launched their Sputnik in 1957, Britain had ballistic rockets (Blue Streak and Black Knight) in an advanced stage of development for military purposes. The military arrangements with the United States, which at that time materialized in the establishment of American ballistic rocket sites in England, led to the cancellation of these projects and hence the situation was entirely favorable for their instant assembly and use as launchers for space vehicles. Unfortunately, the government's scientific advisory committee adopted an antagonistic attitude and its views prevailed to such an extent that not even a well-reasoned military space objective could be initiated.
The critical lead which Britain should have taken at that moment evaporated almost entirely as the politicians sought to ingratiate themselves with the European Community by the offer of British expertise and hardware. By 1960 it was reliably estimated that the integrated cost of maintaining the Blue Streak organization in being, without a policy directive since the cancellation of the weapon, was parallel to the cost of its development as a satellite launcher at that time. In any event, the political moves resulted in the emergence of the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO), with Britain offering Blue Streak as the first stage of a launcher.
The subsequent history of ELDO has been dismal. The attempt to integrate the British first stage with second and third stages built in France and Germany has not yet succeeded. The last Labour government withdrew British participation-a vacillation of policy within a decade which used up a substantial amount of money to no useful purpose. At this moment, after four failures to place a satellite in orbit (with Europa 2), the remaining partners in ELDO are trying to decide whether to proceed with the third version of the launcher (Europa 3) at a cost of $500 million. The French are now the chief movers in this proposal since they maintain that neither Russia nor America can be relied upon to continue to sell or donate launching rockets for European space projects, especially where commercial or military uses are in question.
In the meantime, the parallel European organization created specifically for dealing with the payloads (ESRO-the European Space Research Organisation) has been somewhat more successful. With Britain bearing one- quarter of the cost of the organization, several satellites have been created successfully on a multinational basis and launched by U.S. rockets. Disagreements over policy have, however, led to arguments about the role of ESRO and to modification of original intentions, so that purely scientific satellites now play a lesser role in future planning at the expense of more commercial or practical applications.
This general muddle in European space arrangements has been increased by the simultaneous unilateral action of France and the United Kingdom. Both have developed their individual launchers (apart from Blue Streak, Britain developed Black Arrow and then abandoned the project), and both have built satellites on a national basis and launched them in collaboration with the Soviet Union and the United States respectively. It is scarcely surprising that NASA has, as its major policy, collaboration with Europe as a whole rather than through bilateral arrangements. In 1970 approaches were made to extend this coöperation to the extent of inviting the European Community to be solely responsible for the provision of the space tug-a vital component in the new concept of the U.S.-manned orbital satellite with recoverable rocket. The disagreements within Europe on space policy and the continued postponement of a decision on this issue (the most recent proposed ministerial meeting which was expected to make a final decision in early July 1972 was postponed) is a sad reaction to this important phase of possible collaboration. The deep divisions of opinion in European space policy seem likely to remain until such time as the Community achieves greater political coherence. It is a regrettable thought that, notwithstanding the scientific contributions made by European space scientists, the ability to join with the Soviets or the United States in a space project of real magnitude seems remote.
Whereas the United States has made significant progress with the Soviets in the sphere of space collaboration, the belief that the U.S. space program would proceed to even more magnificent exploits after the success of Apollo has not proved to be the case. The savage cut in the NASA budget and the overall reaction from science as a whole immediately after the moon landings are most strange features of the contemporary scene. They afflict many Western communities as well as the United States. Whatever the cause, the effect on the possible space projects has been dramatic. A vigorous follow-up of the Apollo program could have led to regular habitations on the moon and initial manned approaches to Mars within two decades. No one could foretell what practical and psychological reactions such events would have for man and for his life on earth. Perhaps it is the thought that such enterprises might carry consequences not wholly for the benefit of life on earth that has caused a temporary withdrawal.
In any case, the U.S. administration first rejected the manned Mars program in favor of instrumented exploration, then even cut back on the remaining Apollo flights; it further rejected some of the attractive possibilities for unmanned exploration of the planetary system (the grand tour of the outer planets, for example, has been abandoned). Apart from the Viking landing of instruments on Mars proposed for 1975-76 and other wholly admirable projects to carry scientific instruments to interplanetary space, the main effort for this decade has become inward-looking, i.e. extensive manned flight in earth orbit, with scientific workshops and recoverable vehicles. To what extent the United States has desired to compete with the anticipated plan of the Soviets for a large earth-orbiting platform is a matter for conjecture. There are clear commercial and military interests in achieving at least parity in earth-orbiting facilities.
The retrenchment of the United States to a current NASA budget at less than three-quarters of the peak level of the 1960-1970 decade creates a real danger of another imbalance with Russia. Any analysis of the U.S.S.R. expenditure on space is acknowledged to be difficult, but the figures available to the U.S. Senate conclude that in 1965 the annual investment in space amounted to five billion equivalent U.S. dollars and that subsequently the amount has at least remained level. This means that the Soviets continue to devote to their space program a share of their GNP about twice the size of the largest share devoted to the space program of the United States at its peak level. If these trends continue, by 1980 the Soviets may recreate the 1960 level of space advantage over the United States. Whether they will then be in a position to deliver another Sputnik- like shock to the West depends largely on the extent to which the development of the Nixon-Kosygin agreement overcomes the isolationism.
Any detailed analysis of these future prospects is fundamentally handicapped by the obscurity of the Soviet intentions and by the unseen motives influencing the U.S. programs. At least we can see in the U.S. developments that the guiding motives have not been scientific. The essentially scientific space programs have been a minor burden on the economy. The major effort has gone into the Apollo program. The scientific advantages have been significant but could certainly have been achieved at a fraction of the cost with unmanned devices. The culmination of the scientific program required the large-scale extension of the concept; its truncation highlights the political motives which governed the decision to proceed with Apollo.
For the next decade the U.S. space program is largely ruled by the argument that by spending a further 15 billion dollars to develop the space shuttle, the cost of placing massive satellites in orbit can be reduced. Although scientists will, of course, be glad to mount experiments in such massive satellites, the concept is not justified on scientific merits. The backing for such concepts must be largely strategic. Surveillance satellites are already a common feature of space. The large space platform, made economically viable by the shuttle concept, must be regarded as a desirable space launching pad for these devices and for their extensions into the more active phases of interception and attack. The U.S. interest in the large orbiting platform is clearly a response to the recognized Soviet attempts to establish a similar facility in space.
The military dominance of space activity has been well hidden within the Soviet security screen and by the extroverted nature of the NASA missions. The reality of the military influence is evident from the information given recently to the U.S. Senate.[iv] To the end of 1971 America had delivered 764 payloads to space-241 by NASA, the remainder by the Department of Defense, of which 182 are classified as civil and 341 as military. The estimates for Russia are 661 payloads in space, of which 392 were military. Of these latter, 17 are classed as "fractional orbital bombardment" and 25 as "military inspection or destruction."
Any realistic discussion of collaboration in space in the foreseeable future must take account of the unpalatable fact that at least half the space effort of the two major powers involved lies in the military domain, and that an unseen but effective military influence lies behind some of the major trends of the remaining civil space activities. It is in this area of space activities that we look for new collaboration on the basis of the Nixon-Kosygin agreement. The major question is whether duplication of effort can be avoided, thereby freeing major resources for further advance into the unknown. Ten years ago the space agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States provided for coördinated launchings of meteorological satellites, of satellites for measuring the magnetic field, for communication tests and for exchange of data on space biology and medicine. It is in this sphere, together with the new studies of earth resources from space, that properly coördinated activities between the two powers could save overlapping costs and could immediately benefit the human race.
On the essentially scientific aspects of space exploration it is probably unreasonable, and may even be undesirable, to attempt detailed collaboration. The scientific brain requires a driving motive. It is not clear whether scientists are primarily motivated by sheer inquisitiveness about the universe or by the competitive instinct. It is at least probable that the latter is important for the scientist who finds his own level of essential international collaboration and resents bureaucratic or political direction. The continued purely scientific-instrumented flights in earth orbit, in interplanetary space and to the planets are cheap by the standards of space expenditure. This intellectual pursuit of fundamental knowledge of our environment and the universe may with advantage be used to absorb harmlessly the competitive instinct of the space scientist in national, or at least localized international, groups where cost is important.
The real problems of international space collaboration lie in the exciting realms of manned excursions to the moon and beyond. After the conclusion of the Apollo program there are no U.S. plans for manned flights beyond earth orbit. No doubt within a few years the Soviets will, in their own time and by their own method, repeat the Apollo exploits. In their approach to these distant manned flights their whole attitude appears to differ essentially from that of the Americans. A fundamental edict of the Marxist-Leninist philosophy is that man can and must conquer his environment. The Soviets have made no secret of the fact that they interpret this, not merely as man conquering the hazards of the terrestrial environment, but moving into and establishing himself in the solar system. The question is not whether they will establish human colonies on the moon and Mars, and perhaps elsewhere in the solar system, but when they will feel ready to embark on these vast enterprises. Throughout the decade of Apollo, the Americans regarded man-on- the-moon as the winning goal. The Soviets no doubt expected to get there first, but their attitude has never wavered in regarding this exploit as a mere staging post to greater adventures.
The withdrawal of the United States from these manned planetary missions must be a cause of great concern. To allow one national group to establish itself unilaterally in lunar or planetary bases would be an incalculable disaster for the peoples of the earth. There are many dangers of local misuse arising from the massive engineering and technical advances which are first necessary on earth. There are more erudite dangers arising from the possibility that the Soviets might eventually attempt to change the planetary atmospheres to facilitate habitation, and the terrifying unknown dangers that might occur by the return of foreign organisms to the terrestrial globe. The ethical problems arising from man's tampering with his own local environment are current issues of concern. But they appear as shadows compared with the ethics of manned colonies in space unless such processes are governed and carried out by international agreements. Fortunately, the vast cost of these undertakings, which could well materialize during this century, might erode the military budgets. The tensions between men would then pass to outer space.
[i] The figures for Russia are taken from "Soviet Space Programs, 1962-65," a staff report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., December 1966.
[ii] See "Kennedy" by Theodore Sorensen. New York: Harper and Row, 1965, p. 529.
[iii] See "Soviet Space Programs, 1962-65," op. cit.; also the report for 1966-1970.
[iv] See "Soviet Space Programs, 1971," a staff report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C., April 1973.