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Can Space Exploration Save Humanity?


October 14, 2020 • 6:30 pm PDT

The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaimed that celestial objects are “the province of all mankind.” But so far, space travel has been a costly and exclusive province (fewer than 600 people have been in orbit). Today’s headlines about space are dominated by billionaires who dream of escaping their Earth-bound lives or providing new tourist thrills. And the biggest space travel successes in recent memory belong to robots rather than humans. How can we better use space exploration in service of all humanity, not just a favored few? What sorts of social structures and governance practices might make possible greater exploration or even colonization of space? And how might the challenges of traveling through the void of space help us survive an increasingly inhospitable climate here on our home planet?

Analog astronaut and geoscientist Sian Proctor, designer and co-founder of Space Exploration Architecture Melodie Yashar, and Lindy Elkins-Tanton, principal investigator of the NASA Psyche Mission and director of the ASU Interplanetary Initiative, visit Zócalo to discuss the next generation of space exploration and its implications for Earth.