In June 2018, the Holy See participated at the United Nations UNISPACE+50 Conference in Vienna, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first such UN conference on the peaceful uses of outer space.
Leading up to that meeting, in March 2018 the Vatican Observatory had helped organize a workshop at our headquarters in the papal summer gardens outside of Rome to discuss the broader issues of the peaceful uses of space and space technology. The seminar was attended by 30 participants from nine countries, including scientists, diplomats, educators and representatives from space-related industries. At UNISPACE+50, I summarized the results of that workshop in the following words:
“In seeing the Earth from space, we realize that our own borders are insignificant in comparison. The Earth’s atmosphere is a global environment that needs to be protected by a global vision of this limited, shared natural resource and must be utilized for the benefit of all humankind.”
“Space Accessibility should be understood to include accessibility to space-derived data and services for everyone on Earth, not just accessibility to the outer space environment for conducting research.”