Selected from “ACCESSORY TO WAR: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military” by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang. Copyright © 2018 by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
Looking down at Earth from an orbiting spacecraft, a rational person could certainly feel that “necessary defence” may have more to do with the vulnerability of our beautiful blue planet, exposed to all the vicissitudes of the cosmos, than with the transient power of a single country’s weapons, policymakers, nationalists, and ideologues, however virulent. From hundreds of kilometers above the surface of the globe, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men” might sound less like a standard line on a Christmas card and more like an essential step toward a viable future, in which all of humankind cooperates in protecting Earth from the enemies among us and the threats above us.