Becoming Interplanetary

Last September, JustSpace co-founder Lucianne Walkowicz organized a day-long symposium at the Library of Congress, entitled “Becoming Interplanetary: What Living on Earth Can Teach Us about Living on Mars”. The entire event is now up online— watch it here!

The event was a day of panels and performances, organized around three "beats": The Right Stuff, Mars On Earth, and Alternative Futurisms:

Beat 1: The Right Stuff:

Tom Wolfe’s book, “The Right Stuff”, cemented the ideal of the cowboy astronaut, drawing on the frontier themes that have long been used to talk about space. How do these narratives of space exploration inform and influence modern ideas about who can explore space? What does it mean to have the “Right Stuff”, and how is that meaning evolving?

Beat 2: Mars on Earth

Thanks to our spacecraft, we now know more about the Martian environment than ever before-- and are on the precipice of sending humans to explore further. What can we learn from the history of exploration on Earth, and how might we understand the Martian environment within the framework of these Earthly lessons? 

Beat 3: Alternative Futurisms

Science fiction has the power to inspire and instruct us as we envision the future, but it has also long been a vehicle for myths of manifest destiny. What alternative viewpoints on humanity’s future in space might exist, and how might these conceptualize life off-world in radically different ways? 

You can see a full summary of the event and meet all the panelists by visiting the event page.

Reading: Trump’s Space Force is a strategic mistake

Over at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Greg Niguidula analyzes the development of the Space Force, a proposed branch of the military specific to space. Niguidula, a graduate student in international relations at Georgetown University, provides some historical context for the idea, and argues that increased aggressive posturing may jeopardize access to space for everyone. Niguidula writes:

Even if the Space Force proves to be the best means to achieve dominance in space, the goal is still fundamentally flawed. Instead of dominance, the president should be pursuing peace in space. The mistake Trump and the military establishment seem to be making is believing US dominance and peace are synonymous. They certainly are not mutually exclusive, but one does not automatically lead to the other. With the aggressive rhetoric being used, US leadership in space technology is increasingly seen by other countries as a threat and may be actively increasing the likelihood of a space war. Rather than a “warfighting domain,” space must be seen once again as a sanctuary.

You can read the full article here!