Project

Visions of the Final Frontier

Goal: This project looked at some of the social, political, and ethical issues associated with space exploration, space science, and the space industry.

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Project log

Alan Marshall
added a research item
Jeff Bezos, the world's richest man (or nearly) jaunted into space during 2121 aboard a small space capsule and he attracted huge public backlash because of it. This backlash was presented as 'confused' and 'muddled' by many in the space industry. However, after collecting and examining this public backlash playing out in the media, the author finds the social and media criticism of Jeff Bezos' space jaunts to be highly nuanced societal reflections of what is positive and negative when it comes to commercial space flight and what is positive and negative about the long-term dreams of space explorers. In this paper, these social reflections of Bezos's space adventures are assembled together and interpreted with contextual insights so that those within the space industry can see their sense and logic in terms that go beyond the narrow aims of the space industry itself.
Alan Marshall
added an update
This newly published paper analyzes the arguments that emerged during the media coverage of the 2021 suborbital space tourist flights made by Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company. Included are sections devoted to the environmental impact of the flights, the bad timing of the flights (regarding the Covid-19 pandemic), and the exploitation of both customers and employees by Blue Origin's donor company, Amazon.com
 
Alan Marshall
added an update
This new article of mine entitled: "The Solar System belongs to us all -- not just Jeff Bezos" is available at THE CONVERSATION: https://theconversation.com/the-solar-system-belongs-to-us-all-not-just-jeff-bezos-173610.
For a general introduction to my Future Space Visions work, see: "The Space City of Ecotopia 2121"
 
Alan Marshall
added an update
Recently I participated in the Future Studies Working Group of the 'Making Contact' workshop (organised via the 'Breakthough Initiative') and hosted at UC Berkeley. The workshop attempted to engage social science and humanities concepts into the goal of detecting Extraterrestrial Intelligence (yes, 'aliens'!) Here's the abstract of my written contribution attached...
 
Alan Marshall
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A blog post about the future 'Search for ET' is included in the Ecotopia 2121 website here:
 
Alan Marshall
added a research item
For an online copy of this article about 'Elon Musk'-type space tourism, see: https://theconversation.com/fly-me-to-the-moon-why-the-world-should-be-wary-of-elon-musks-space-race-73918, or: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fly-me-to-the-moon-why-the-world-should-be-wary-of_us_58bd55c2e4b0fa65b844b5b2
Alan Marshall
added 7 research items
ABSTRACT After a brief review of environmental ethics this paper examines how terrestrial environmental values can be developed into policies to protect extraterrestrial environments. Shallow environmentalism, deep environmentalism and the libertarian extension of rights are compared and then applied to the environmental protection of extraterrestrial bodies. Some scientific background is given. The planet Mars is used as a test case from which an ethical argument emerges for the protection of environments beyond Earth. The argument is based on the necessity to recognise the intrinsic value of all living species and natural environments. At present, the treatment of extraterrestrial environments by makers of space policy is ethically undernourished. This paper explains why such an attitude endangers those environments and calls for the policy-makers to incorporate non-anthropocentric ethics into extraterrestrial environmental policy.
Any lifeforms on Mars could be at risk if we fail to follow Star Trek's 'Prime Directive'.
This article analyses established models of imperialism and seeks to apply them to possible space development scenarios. Inherent in such an analysis is a critique of the predominant rationales for advanced Solar System development (permanent planetary bases, settlements and colonies). The argument that emerges suggests that no single rationale is sufficiently strong to propel humans towards Solar System expansion as yet. However, in the instance that an extraterrestrial material becomes economically valuable, Solar System development will probably proceed. Under this scenario the present politico-legal regimes which govern prospective space development (and, moreover, the philosophical inclinations of many of those involved in formulating such regimes) dictate that Solar System development will be of an imperialistic nature.
Alan Marshall
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Alan Marshall
added a project goal
This project looked at some of the social, political, and ethical issues associated with space exploration, space science, and the space industry.