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Star Wars and Caltech

We the undersigned members of the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory wish to express our personal concern over the threat posed by the growing militarization of space. We believe that the continued development and eventual deployment of advanced antisatellite weapons will prove harmful to our long-term national security interests. Likewise, we believe that technological panaceas to the problem of national defense, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, rely on assumptions of questionable technical and strategic validity. These programs are at best an enormous waste of scientific and financial resources and could in fact increase the risk of nuclear war by destabilizing the existing strategic balance.

Therefore, we call upon our elected representatives to:

  • Declare an immediate moratorium on the development and testing of all space weapons, including antisatellite and ballistic missile defense systems.

  • Resume negotiations for a mutual and verifiable treaty banning the testing, production, deployment, or use of all space weapons.

  • Reaffirm our commitment to the provisions of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

It is our hope that we may avert an unnecessary and costly new arms race, and that instead, the peaceful utilization of space may point the way to a less confrontational and more cooperative future.

Carl D. Anderson Professor of Physics Nobel Prize in Physics 1936

Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics Nobel Prize in Physics 1965

William A. Fowler Professor of Physics Nobel Prize in Physics 1983

Murray Gell-Mann Professor of Theoretical Physics Nobel Prize in Physics 1969

Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1954

Nobel Peace Prize 1962

Roger W. Sperry Professor of Psychobiology Nobel Prize in Medicine 1981

(The statement is also signed by sixty-three members of the National Academy of Sciences who are associated with the California Institute of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The signatures are “given by individuals, acting in their private capacities. Caltech and JPL affiliations are given for identification purposes only.”)

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