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?”

Ep 02: Who Gets to Go?

Before we can head out into space, we have to ask: Who gets to go? What will the population of space settlers look like? Who will be allowed to go, and who will be left behind?

Historian Donna Gabaccia rejoins us to talk about what kind of people have migrated to new places on Earth in the past. Anthropologist Michael Oman-Reagan reflects on what this question of selection tells us about our readiness as a society to settle space. Astronomer Jesse Shanahan discusses the possibilities for disabled people in space. And marine biogeographer Karen Backe explores the question of which animals we should bring with us.

The transcript for this episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 02: Who Gets to Go?”

Ep 01: Why Are We Going?

Welcome to the first episode of Making New Worlds: Why Are We Going? Examining our motivations for settling space.

We talk to historian Donna Gabaccia about the historical reasons for human migration on the Earth. Sociologist Zuleyka Zevallos weighs in on the harmful effects of colonialism when planning a space settlement. Sci-fi author and scientist Darcie Little Badger and her partner, veterinarian and sci-fi fan T Hueston, provide their perspectives on space settlement as Indigenous people.

The transcript of the episode is below.

Continue reading “Ep 01: Why Are We Going?”


Welcome to Making New Worlds, a podcast about the ethical issues of human settlements in space. Here’s a quick trailer to give you a taste of the kinds of questions the podcast will explore. Please share far and wide, and stay tuned! Episodes will be released on iTunes every Wednesday morning starting next week, November 15.

Transcript for this episode below.

Continue reading “Trailer”