Human rights in space

ESA Columbus laboratory

I’m not talking about respect for the rights of spacefaring human beings, but a plan by the French government and European Space Agency to fly a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the International Space Station, and store it in ESA’s Columbus laboratory.

Is this so that an aggrieved astronaut can whip out the document (“properly protected in space-proof packaging”) and shove it under the nose of his overbearing commander while bleating “Don’t oppress me!”? Actually no, it seems that the initiative has a grand symbolic value.

Astronaut Léopold Eyharts explains all:

“The ESA Astronaut Corps welcomes this humanitarian initiative. In recognition of the fact that human beings are at times downtrodden, the Declaration can symbolically find its place ‘above’ all the peoples of the world.”

I swear I’m not making this up.