Space Exploration: Please Do Adjust Your (Mind)Set

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the new Mission: Interplanetary podcast from ASU and Slate, I’d highly recommend it–and not just because my co-host is the fabulous former astronaut and ASU Global Explorer in Residence Dr. Cady Coleman!

With the podcast, we set out to explore fresh perspectives on how we think about space. And I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.

This week’s episode is a great example of this. Our guest is the space theoretician Dr. Natalie Trevino, who led us in an eye opening conversation on decolonizing space exploration–you can listen to the episode here:

I love the perspective Natalie brings to how we think about space exploration in this episode, and the reminder of how even the language we use about space echoes deeply engrained attitudes around the exercise of power and domination.

Of course, it’s easy to argue that these are just words. But words matter–they reflect how we think, and the “set” of our mind. And the danger is that, if we charge ahead and build empires in space with the same mindset that previous generations used to build empires on Earth, they’ll be riddled through with the same injustices and inequalities that continue to disadvantage so many people around the world today.

A colonial mindset engenders colonial attitudes, no matter how enlightened we think we are. And this in turn risks building a future for the privileged at the expense of the subjugated.

To avoid this, some adjustment may be necessary in how we think if we want to see a just and equitable space-faring future emerge.

But don’t take my word for it–listen to this weeks fantastic episode with Natalie.

And of course, please do spread the word!