Navigation Links
Space scientists, humanist scholars to explore outer space from new perspective

Space agencies and scientists are tirelessly working to make manned missions back to the Moon and then onwards to Mars a reality. The technologies involved are awe-inspiring, but what challenges do historians, philosophers or sociologists expect us to face in an era of interplanetary exploration and, perhaps, colonisation"

To find out, the European Science Foundation (ESF), European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) are co-hosting a conference in Vienna, on 11-12 October 2007, at which humanist scholars and space scientists will come together, for the first time in Europe, to discuss humankinds presence in space from non-traditional perspectives. The conference Humans in Outer Space Interdisciplinary Odysseys will give guiding insight into how once we find a way to survive in outer space we will also face issues that can be best addressed in the light of modern understanding of historical events.

Issues that conference delegates will explore include the philosophical and theological consequences of contacting alien intelligences, the marketing of space exploration, and the legal frameworks that will be needed if space-faring nations are to co-operate peacefully.

The event is being organised in part by an ESF Steering Committee chaired by Professor Luca Codignola, a historian at the University of Genoa. He is particularly interested in what history can tell us about the challenges we may face if space explorers make contact with alien civilisations.

The so-called Columbian Exchange that took place around 1492 was a typical case in point. It changed the Western way of conceiving the globe; it forcefully challenged its theology; it allowed for a free flow of bacteria, germs and microbes that almost wiped out the American peoples, he explained.

Professor Codignola prepared for the upcoming Vienna conference by helping to organise a preliminary seminar, held earlier this year in Genoa. The seminar was attended by 21 leading thinkers from diverse humanist and scientific disciplines, 10 of whom presented short papers.

Gsli P lsson, for example, an anthropologist from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, presented Lucy in the Sky Out of Africa, Out of Earth, in which he looked at whether our understanding of how human cultures interact can help us imagine what it would be like to contact non-human cultures.

The seminar was also attended by a luminary in historical research, Dr Alfred Crosby, who originated the concept of the Columbian Exchange in the 1970s. He presented a paper entitled The Space-Roving Human Being and His and Her Inhabitants: Micro-Organisms and Extraterrestrial Travel.

The science community does not really seem to be aware of the fact that a number of issues and concerns that they are dealing with, such as the consequences of meeting with unknown pathogens, are known and have long been studied by historians and ethnologists, Prof Codignola offered.

As for the humanities scholars, technical difficulties relating to space voyaging and especially its time frame, usually escape them. We all felt it was rather strange that the two groups rarely, if ever, meet to discuss space-related issues, he added.

The upcoming Vienna conference will feature six successive sessions and 21 speakers. The conclusions from these sessions will be documented by the ESF in a position paper entitled Vienna Vision on Humans in Outer Space. The ESF will distribute this paper to all interested stakeholders in the academic world, space agencies, intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations, the media and politicians involved in space and research-related initiatives.

Prof Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Secretary General of the ESPI and Chair of the conference, commented: Mankinds future in outer space will require a comprehensive view including the input in particular by the humanities and social sciences, as well as the reflection of the manifold trans-utilitarian aspects that make space exploration a province of all mankind."


Contact: Dr. Jean-Claude Worms
European Science Foundation

Related medicine news :

1. Immune cells halt round in space
2. Space research leads to needle-free blood tests
3. Doctors Ask MPs To Protect Human Rights By Banning Smoking In Enclosed Public Spaces
4. Space suit technology to Protect Against Heat Strokes
5. Needed, more space for womens sexual identity on marquees
6. Spacers Score Over Nebulizers in Childhood Asthma Treatment
7. Astronauts Spacewalk On The International Space Station – NASA Report
8. Effect of Prolonged Stay in Space Studied Using Fruit Flies
9. Exercise in Space Prevents Kidney Stone Formation in Astronauts
10. Headspace to the Rescue of Mentally Ill Youngsters
11. Experiments In Outer Space To Determine single Cell Survival
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... October 12, 2015 , ... Amerec , a leader in the steam ... care equipment, will be displaying custom sauna and steam room solutions at the ISPA ... and spas as customers, SpaEquip is recognized for their ability to assist in the ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2015 , ... According ... Fire Chief for the city of San Antonio, Texas recommended that any high-rises in ... incorporate these important safety systems going forward. The article explains that it wasn’t until ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , ... October 12, 2015 , ... At first glance, ... cocktail umbrella one would find atop a drink in a tiki bar. But the ... clinical trial at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) could potentially signal a new way of ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... , ... Advera Health Analytics, Inc . is offering its exclusive ... in order to provide health plans, payers, systems, and hospitals with the ability to ... DSM is also being offered to healthcare media organizations to serve as an independent, ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... 2015 , ... To help raise awareness this October during ... National Breast Cancer Foundation. The National Breast Cancer Foundation is dedicated to providing ... education, and support services. , The annual campaign to increase breast cancer awareness ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... October 12, 2015 --> ... "Spirometer Market by Product (Hand-held, Table-top, Desktop), Technology (Volume Measurement, ... & Geography - Global Forecast to 2020", published by MarketsandMarkets, ... by 2020, at a CAGR of 9.8% from 2015 to ... F igures spread th rough 187 P ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... DUBLIN , Oct. 12 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Personalized ... to 2019 - Strategic Analysis of Industry ... to their offering. --> ... "Personalized Medicine, Targeted Therapeutics and Companion ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015  To help address the ... Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Board of Directors ... physician, caregiver and patient education; the tracking of opioid ... support for more effective opioid abuse treatment programs. ... the AAOS Patient Safety Committee. "The new , AAOS ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: