Program to focus on conflicts in outer space


The Delaware Great Decisions series this week will focus on outer space and war.

Robert O. Harmon, Perkins-Howard Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio Wesleyan University, will focus on the following points during the discussion:

• The United States military enjoys unique advantages due to the high degree of integration of space-based capabilities in its operations, but this dependence creates a strong incentive for adversaries to target US space assets in the event of a conflict.

• The global economy and everyday life are more dependent on satellites than is commonly realized, some satellites are mixed-use between military and civilian applications, and orbital debris from destroyed satellites could incidentally destroy other satellites, so that a conflict that spreads into the space domain could have serious repercussions on a global scale.

• It is difficult to defend space assets from ground- and space-based attacks, so developing effective deterrence measures is critical to preserving space assets, which is an area in which more work is needed.

Harmon is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University and completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Chicago. He was a visiting researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

In addition to teaching courses in theoretical physics as well as in theoretical and observational astrophysics, he utilizes OWU’s Perkins Observatory for classes and research, including the study of starspots. Notable for this topic, he also leads a travel-learning course called “Space Exploration: Past, Present, and Future” which includes discussion of international competition and cooperation in space.

There are a couple of options for accessing the link to Friday’s Zoom program, which will take place at noon. Interested parties can email Skip Cornett, committee chair, at [email protected] for the link or visit the Delaware Great Decisions Facebook page to access the link at

Gazette Staff

[email protected]

Information for this story was submitted by the Rev. Ward “Skip” Cornett, who serves as chair of the Delaware Great Decisions program.

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