Mal is a space pirate. A space pirate with a heart of gold, sure, but a pirate nonetheless. How will future space settlements deal with space pirates and other unsavory characters?
This is just one of the questions discussed by the burgeoning field of astrosociology. If this sounds a little premature, consider this: there are anecdotes about astronauts on the International Space Station getting into arguments. If a handful of elite professionals holding similar values lose their cool in space, what will happen when hundreds or thousands of diverse, opinionated people have disagreements in space? Will these future towns in space devolve into anarchy? Shouldn’t we try to figure out a way to resolve conflicts and keep the peace in outer space now?
At it’s core, astrosociology is the study of the human dimension of outer space. It asks questions like:
- what will happen to human culture when we make first contact with aliens? What are the religious implications? (Poll: If little green men ask, “take me to your leader,” what does that really mean? )
- how will space hotels and, eventually, space colonies and planetary settlements, be governed? From earth, independently or some other way?
- how will resources be allocated? For instance, oxygen is not free in space and has to be produced or imported. Will everyone have to pay a tax in order to get oxygen to breathe?
- what nationality will a baby born in a space station receive? Is the very concept of nationality relevant for spaceborne societies?
Pretty crazy, right? Yeah I know. If you like this, check out our latest podcast or take our poll.