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Pages 258-259
First published 2 September 2013

Beyond Life Cycles

Maja Murnik, Špela Petric and Miha Turšic


Human activities in outer space are producing increasing quantities of space "debris". This well-known fact posits the question about the value and use of space technologies after their operation period has expired. Rather than calling these non-functional objects "debris", we propose to treat them as "end-of-life allopoietic systems" with the potential of becoming autopoietic systems. In general, our utilitarian, anthropocentric, and control-oriented management of processes discourages research into emancipated, unfamiliar entities which do not (yet) appear in our ecosystems. However, outer space technology with its literal and symbolic remoteness presents an opportunity to transform utilitarian objects at their end-of-life into emancipated non-utilitarian living or life-like systems without the danger of interaction with the existing living systems of our planet. Here we outline a composite approach to the challenge.