Yesterday, during a meeting , U.S. Senator Ted Cruz extolled reasons why the U.S. needs to adopt a sixth branch of the military, known as the Space Force.
While there are certainly valid reasons for the U.S. to invest more resources into protecting space assets, Cruz decided to highlight one threat in particular that's pretty perple—the .
Here's exactly what he said:
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. 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.
This threat of space piracy provoked some typical Internet commentary, including from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk:
It's unclear whether Cruz is worried about actual pirates, seeing as there are only six people in space aboard the International Space Station. It could be that he's referring to China's space-based weaponry, India's satellite-destroying capabilities, or the growing industry of space mining, which could theoretically produce a band of space pirates in a few hundred years or so.
But as for here-and-now pirates—the kind that threatened the high seas during the Age of Sail—it's unlikely they'll be migrating to space anytime soon. At least, .