Just like Earth's seas, our Solar System is a perilous frontier. Instead of waves of water and cannonballs, there are waves of sizzling solar flares and rogue meteors. According to US Senator Ted Cruz, this also raises another big concern that nobody is talking about: space pirates.
Speaking at a hearing of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space on Tuesday, Cruz argued that a Space Force is necessary to ward off space pirates. After receiving a barrage of mocking tweets about his comments, Cruz doubled-down on his commitment to tackling space pirates and dismissed his haters as “snarky Leftists”.
“Since the ancient Greeks first put to sea, nations have recognized the necessity of naval forces and maintaining a superior capability to protect waterborne travel and commerce from bad actors,” Cruz told the crowd during a hearing in Washington this week.
"Pirates threaten the open seas – and the same is possible in space.”
"In this same way, I believe we too must now recognize the necessity of a Space Force to defend the nation, and to protect space commerce and civil space exploration."
The internet responded accordingly:
In Cruz’s defense, he later claimed on Twitter he wasn’t actually talking about satellites with a skull and crossbone flag, instead referring to the risk of other nations interfering with US plans to dominate the “commercialization of space”.
“Sure, a frigate w/ skull & crossbones in space is unlikely anytime soon, but what MSNBC conveniently omits is the threat of piracy, espionage & violence from rogue & rival NATIONS is very real,” Cruz tweeted. “Indeed, China has already developed & tested weapons to destroy satellites in space."
It’s not clear where Cruz’s sudden interest in space pirates has come from, although he previously served as chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness during the 114th and 115th Congress. Then again, when it comes to the field of science, Cruz is perhaps best known for his climate change denial, once comparing people who think industrial activity causes climate change to flat-Earthers.
As for the Trump administration's dream of a space force, plans have faltered a bit since it was first proposed, although it appears to be going ahead in some form or another (albeit with a price tag billions more than the Department of Defense estimated).