Ethical Questions and Quandaries for Living in Outer Space
304 pp., 6 x 9 in
- Published: March 7, 2023
Can we do better in space than we've done here on Earth?
We've pinpointed the destination, refined the technology, designed the habitat, outfitted our space residents. Are we forgetting something? A timely reminder that it's not just rocket science, this thought-provoking book explores the all-too-human issues raised by the prospect of settling in outer space. It's worth remembering, Erika Nesvold suggests, that in making new worlds, we don't necessarily leave our earthly problems behind. Accordingly, her work highlights the complex ethical challenges that accompany any other-worldly venture—questions about the environment, labor rights, and medical ethics, among others.
Any such venture, Nesvold contends, must be made on behalf of all humanity, with global input and collaboration. Off-Earth thus includes historical and contemporary examples from outside the dominant Western/US, abled, and privileged narrative of the space industry. Nesvold calls on experts in ethics, sociology, history, social justice, and law to launch a hopeful conversation about the potential ethical pitfalls of becoming a multi-planet species—and, ideally, to shed light on similar problems we presently face here on Earth.
Space settlement is rapidly becoming ever more likely. Will it look like the utopian vision of Star Trek? Or the dark future of Star Wars? Nesvold challenges us to decide.
“In Off-Earth, Dr. Nesvold engages the pivotal social, cultural, and ethical questions overlooked in most books on space settlement, demonstrating that expertise from humanities and social science is needed to sustain humans in space.”
James Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Wichita State University, author of The Value of Science in Space Exploration
“Erika Nesvold's Off-Earth is a thought-provoking starting place for anyone curious about space exploration– a gracious guidebook to the enmeshment of our past and present on Earth with possible futures in space.”
Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz, cofounder of the JustSpace Alliance
“Through this wonderful and timely book, Erica Nesvold has captured a bold vision for humanity's future in outer space. The book posits a future, not rooted in economics or resources, but in compassion and empathy.”
Christopher J. Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy, Northumbria University