DIGITAL MAGAZINE

January 2022

DIGITAL MAGAZINE

January 2022

Cover by Thomas Gaulkin
(illustrations via EFF Photos, ESA, Wikimedia, Vectorstock)

view of Earth from space on shortest day of year

Why the final frontier should not become the final battleground

Space can be an inspiring frontier—if we let it.
view of Earth from space on shortest day of year

Why the final frontier should not become the final battleground

Space can be an inspiring frontier—if we let it.
artist's conception of moon base

Interview: Rob Latiff on the worsening international security situation in space

The international security situation is worsening, as countries jockey for both military and private-sector advantage in space. A retired US Air Force major general—who is also a member the Bulletins’ Science and Security Board—explains why.
color-enhance image from space

The complicating role of the private sector in space

The rise of commercial actors in space will come at the cost of decline of the role of nation-states in that domain. This disruption will bring instability and ripple effects, that will upset the existing governance structure—and demonstrate the slipping rank of Russia as a space superpower.
images illustrating war in space

A China-US war in space: The after-action report

Results of a recent three-move space war game—conducted with the assistance of current and former senior State Department, NASA, intelligence, space industry, and Defense Department officials—suggest that space combat is unlikely to be waged only between dedicated military systems. Instead, many of the ground- and space-based threats the US and its allies face—including laser satellite trackers, commercial space surveillance systems, space debris-removing satellites, and refueling spacecraft—will have legitimate civilian uses but can be flipped to conduct military missions against critical, targeted satellites.
satellite mapping an asteroid

Cis-lunar space and the security dilemma

We can still develop the moon and the region around it, but as we have learned from decades of activity in Earth orbit, developing space in a sustainable way requires foresight, planning, and cooperation. Space must be recognized as an environment that is worth preserving, and as one in which fast-paced alterations can have unintended consequences.
US Space Force insignia

Space Force: Fact or fiction?

While Space Force is often associated with former President Donald Trump and is the butt of many jokes, the idea of a space force spawns from a decades-old bipartisan vision. From mundane concerns like managing acquisitions to broader questions such as figuring out acceptable forms of combat in space, Space Force faces many challenges ahead.
satellite image of area near N Korea nuke research plant

Machine learning improves satellite imagery analysis of North Korean nuclear activity

Much of the available data on nuclear activities in North Korea comes from earth observation satellites. But there's a drawback: with increased coverage and higher resolution, analysts face challenges in systematically analyzing image datasets on a large scale. In this case study, we tested automated analysis of over 800 satellite images that tracked vehicular traffic—as well as international trade—at border crossings between China and North Korea.

Nuclear Notebook: Israeli nuclear weapons, 2022

This issue of the Nuclear Notebook examines Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which we estimate includes a stockpile of roughly 90 warheads. Israel neither officially confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, and our estimate is therefore largely based on calculations of Israel’s stockpile of weapon-grade plutonium and its inventory of operational nuclear-capable delivery systems.
artist's conception of moon base

Interview: Rob Latiff on the worsening international security situation in space

The international security situation is worsening, as countries jockey for both military and private-sector advantage in space. A retired US Air Force major general—who is also a member the Bulletins’ Science and Security Board—explains why.
color-enhance image from space

The complicating role of the private sector in space

The rise of commercial actors in space will come at the cost of decline of the role of nation-states in that domain. This disruption will bring instability and ripple effects, that will upset the existing governance structure—and demonstrate the slipping rank of Russia as a space superpower.
images illustrating war in space

A China-US war in space: The after-action report

Results of a recent three-move space war game—conducted with the assistance of current and former senior State Department, NASA, intelligence, space industry, and Defense Department officials—suggest that space combat is unlikely to be waged only between dedicated military systems. Instead, many of the ground- and space-based threats the US and its allies face—including laser satellite trackers, commercial space surveillance systems, space debris-removing satellites, and refueling spacecraft—will have legitimate civilian uses but can be flipped to conduct military missions against critical, targeted satellites.
satellite mapping an asteroid

Cis-lunar space and the security dilemma

We can still develop the moon and the region around it, but as we have learned from decades of activity in Earth orbit, developing space in a sustainable way requires foresight, planning, and cooperation. Space must be recognized as an environment that is worth preserving, and as one in which fast-paced alterations can have unintended consequences.
US Space Force insignia

Space Force: Fact or fiction?

While Space Force is often associated with former President Donald Trump and is the butt of many jokes, the idea of a space force spawns from a decades-old bipartisan vision. From mundane concerns like managing acquisitions to broader questions such as figuring out acceptable forms of combat in space, Space Force faces many challenges ahead.
satellite image of area near N Korea nuke research plant

Machine learning improves satellite imagery analysis of North Korean nuclear activity

Much of the available data on nuclear activities in North Korea comes from earth observation satellites. But there's a drawback: with increased coverage and higher resolution, analysts face challenges in systematically analyzing image datasets on a large scale. In this case study, we tested automated analysis of over 800 satellite images that tracked vehicular traffic—as well as international trade—at border crossings between China and North Korea.

Nuclear Notebook: Israeli nuclear weapons, 2022

This issue of the Nuclear Notebook examines Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which we estimate includes a stockpile of roughly 90 warheads. Israel neither officially confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, and our estimate is therefore largely based on calculations of Israel’s stockpile of weapon-grade plutonium and its inventory of operational nuclear-capable delivery systems.

Cover by Thomas Gaulkin
(illustrations via EFF Photos, ESA, Wikimedia, Vectorstock)

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cover image for July 2022 magazine issue on blockchain and cryptocurrency with image of giant bitcoin melting on to the planet Earth
cover image for July 2022 magazine issue on blockchain and cryptocurrency with image of giant bitcoin melting on to the planet Earth
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists March 2021 magazine issue cover
Albert Einstein in Washington, D.C., between 1921 and 1923. Harris & Ewing, photographers. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2016885961/

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