“Improving” Outer Space

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


What would it mean for people to make outer space better rather than worse? Earth-based intuitions about the relationship between humans and the environment sometimes assume that humans are a source of degradation and pollution, and that the best thing humans can do is to leave the environment alone to slow the degradation as much as possible. To what extent do such “humans-as-ruiners” intuitions apply to outer-space contexts – such that space exploration and colonization are an inevitable march towards cosmic environmental degradation? An alternative, positive account of human impact on the environment might focus on the ability of humans to deliberately cultivate environmental qualities they believe are good, which might include both anthropocentric qualities – such as the ability to sustain human life – and biocentric/terracentric qualities, such as enhancing biodiversity. Such accounts open up the possibility of human-led environmental change as improvement rather than degradation. What might we learn about appropriate governance – on Earth as well as in space – by entertaining the possibility that some human-led changes to the nonhuman environment are enhancements rather than harms?
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Philosophy of Outer Space
Subtitle of host publicationExplorations, Controversies, Speculations
EditorsMirko Daniel Garasic, Marcello Di Paola
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781003374381
ISBN (Print)9781032448923, 9781032448893
StatePublished - 2024

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Anticipation and Futures


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