Ep 11: Which Way Is Mecca?

How will people of faith adapt their religious practices to the space environment? How will our cultural values help us adapt to life in space?

Christian theologian Michael Waltemathe and Muslim theologian Mehmet Ozalp discuss examples of how the limitations of space will affect religious rituals and traditions. And Alaskan Native Alice Glenn describes how her community, the Iñupiat people, have adapted to live in a harsh environment that shares a lot of characteristics with space.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 11: Which Way Is Mecca?”

Ep 10: What If I Get Sick?

How can we prepare for medical emergencies in a space settlement? What equipment should we bring? What kinds of doctors? When resources are limited, who do we decide to treat first?

Physician Ken Iserson talks about the lessons we can learn from remote and disaster medicine here on Earth. Philosopher Keith Abney highlights the ethical challenges of practicing medicine in a resource-limited environment like space. And physician Jim Duff discusses some things to keep in mind when selecting a medical team for a wilderness expedition.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 10: What If I Get Sick?”

Ep 09: What If There’s Already Life on Mars?

How do we make sure we don’t bring harmful extraterrestrial microorganisms back to Earth from space? How do we keep our Earth microbes from contaminating potentially habitable worlds like Mars or Europa? How much effort do we really need to put into protecting these hypothetical lifeforms?

SETI marine biologist Margaret Race joins us to explain how NASA approaches these planetary protection problems. Philosopher Kelly Smith explores the ethical questions about the moral value of extraterrestrial life. And theologian Michael Waltemathe presents a religious perspective on planetary protection.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 09: What If There’s Already Life on Mars?”

Ep 08: Should We Make Mars More Like Earth?

How do we balance out our hunger for resources in space with the desire to preserve the space environment for future generations? Will something inherently valuable and important be lost when we start transforming the Moon or Mars to extract resources and make habitats where we can live? How should we preserve our history on the surfaces of other worlds?

Space lawyer Christopher Newman rejoins us to talk about how environmental conservation might be regulated in space. Philosopher James Schwartz discusses the ethics of mining and terraforming other worlds. And space lawyer Michelle Hanlon tells us about For All Moonkind, an organization dedicated to preserving our historical space heritage.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 08: Should We Make Mars More Like Earth?”

Ep 07: What If I Want to Have Kids?

How do we sustain a stable population in our future space settlements?  Do we require settlers to reproduce? How do we limit population growth when resources are scarce? What rights do children born in space have? Is it even possible to safely raise children in space?

Physician Shawna Pandya joins us for a discussion of the challenges of biological reproduction in space. Bioethicist Rebecca Kukla explores some of the potential problems and pitfalls around reproductive rights in a resource-limited environment like a space settlement.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 07: What If I Want to Have Kids?”

Ep 06: Who’s in Charge?

Who will make the decisions in future space settlements? Will they be governed remotely by nations on Earth? Will settlements develop their own local governments? How will conflicts between settlements and with nations back on Earth be resolved? Are we facing a future of war in space?

Space lawyers Laura Montgomery and Christopher Newman join us again to talk about how current and future laws might regulate behavior in space. Historian Lauren Benton describes how empires in the past governed their remote colonies. And anthropologist Brian Ferguson discusses the potential for war in space.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 06: Who’s in Charge?”

Ep 05: What If Someone Steals My Stuff?

How will we handle it when someone breaks the rules of our new societies in space? Who decides whether they’re guilty? Do we need to build space prisons? Or are there alternative forms of justice we should consider that would better suit our new civilization?

Space lawyer Christopher Newman talks to us about the potential problems with simply bringing along our old criminal justice systems from Earth. Sociologist and criminologist Michelle Brown and writer and prison abolitionist Walidah Imarisha discuss the transformative justice movement and provide examples of non-prison justice systems being used and suggested today.

For more reading on the intersection between science fiction and transformative justice, Walidah Imarisha pointed me to the Transformative Justice Science Fiction Strategic Reader.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 05: What If Someone Steals My Stuff?”

Ep 04: Where’s My Money?

Once we’ve reached out space settlements, what do we do next? What kind of jobs will be available, and what kind of economy will we have? What kinds of rights do we have as workers in space, and what will we do if our employer tries to exploit us while we’re stuck far from home?

Historian Margaret Newell rejoins us to talk about economics and labor practices in the early American colonies. Labor rights campaigner Sarah Newell provides some parallels between current labor rights abuses on Earth and potential future challenges for laborers in space.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 04: Where’s My Money?”

Ep 03: Who Owns Mars?

Once we’ve taken that giant leap for mankind and have set foot on a new world, we have to ask: Who actually owns the land we’re standing on? If you’re planning on making your fortune in space by mining or farming or building new habitats, how do you get the rights to work that territory? Do we want to use the same capitalist land-ownership system a lot of us use here on Earth, or is it time for a new way of handling property? Is it even legally possible to own land in space?

We talk to space lawyer Laura Montgomery about the current legal status of property rights in space. Sociologist Debbie Becher gives us an idea of why property rights matter in a society. And colonial historian Margaret Newell  explains how property rights were distributed in the early American colonies.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 03: Who Owns Mars?”